The U’s are far from safe from relegation, currently sitting only three points above the drop zone with 20th-placed Oldham still having two games in hand, but they have actually been on an improved run, suffering only one defeat in their last four league matches.
However, Joe Dunne’s men have only taken three victories from their last 10 and therein possibly lies the reason for their inability to move away from the relegation zone.
Last time out
Colchester failed to put daylight between themselves and relegation rivals Oldham as a second-half equaliser from the hosts saw the U’s held to a 1-1 draw at Boundary Park. The visitors started well and took advantage of a goalkeeping mistake to take the lead through Drey Wright on 20 minutes. However, following Jose Baxter’s 68th-minute equaliser, the Latics piled on the pressure and Colchester were lucky to get away all square.
U’s manager Dunne seemed satisfied enough, saying: “It was a decent battling point. We’re not happy we haven’t won. I felt at half-time it was them or us. We controlled the game after the first 10 minutes.
“Credit to Oldham in the second half as they took the game to us. They scored, we had to do some defending which I thought we did very well. But the important thing is not to get beaten.”
The U’s could welcome back top scorer Freddie Sears after Dunne chose not to risk the former West Ham striker’s knee for their two fixtures over Easter, while young defender Tom Eastham may also make his return from injury.
Last time we met
Back in October, a still-inconsistent Orient fell to 2-0 defeat at home to a Colchester side in one of their best spells of the season. A goal either side of half-time from Anthony Wordsworth and Ian Henderson sealed the affair at the Matchroom Stadium as the U’s moved three points ahead of Russell Slade’s men.
One to watch
Should Freddie Sears be passed fit, he could be the real threat to the O’s backline. After scoring his first senior goal in almost four years last season on loan at the U’s, the 23-year-old made his move from West Ham permanent last summer and has repaid that faith with eight goals to make him the club’s top scorer as they fight to avoid relegation into League 2. Plus of course Orient fans can look out for a certain Jabo Ibehre.
Orient wins: 14
Colchester wins: 16