Crawford urges U’s to give the fans what they want

Hartlepool United v Colchester United – Sky Bet League Two – The Suit Direct Stadium – Saturday (3pm) – Preview

Despite securing their Football League status and subsequently pulling well clear of the Sky Bet League Two relegation zone for the second successive season, Ray Crawford has called for an altogether more ambitious approach from Colchester United ahead of next season.

The U’s conclude their campaign at Hartlepool United on Saturday and will leapfrog the sixteenth-placed Monkey Hangers with a win at the Suit Direct Stadium. Nevertheless, the former frontman wants to see Colchester challenging for promotion this time next year.

“We’ve got to stop treading water because eventually we will go under and be relegated,” Crawford told Yellow Sport.

“The finish to the season has been positive, but then again, so was the finish to last season. The club need to start giving the supporters what they want. Engage better with them, because the feel-good factor is, at best, fragile.

“I was a guest at Ipswich last weekend, but eventually caught up with the Walsall match. It was a decent game, we created a lot of chances and it was a bigger than usual crowd. All positive signs. But we need to enhance that.

“We need to provide the type of football that will get people off the sofa and into the stadium. It hasn’t been inspiring this season. Performances have largely been substandard and the entertainment, poor. We need to ensure that extra 1,000 at the Walsall match think about coming back regularly. The only way to do that is by giving them something worth watching.

“All of this has to come from within the club. They need to reach out, speculate to accumulate in terms of the squad and start winning football matches consistently.”

Crawford continued: “We have one more chance to show people that we’ve turned the corner properly this time.

“Hartlepool United isn’t an easy place to go, but they aren’t exactly in great form at the moment. I think we can go there and get something. We owe that to the fans that will be travelling and have done all season, often more in hope than expectation.

“I desperately want to see Colchester United do well. It’s a smashing football club. I’m sure the town would get behind a winning team, particularly if they can feel a part of it.

“I see this as a crossroad at the club. We can take the high road or continue along accepting more of the same. I know what I want to see and I’m sure the fans feel the same way.”

Ray Crawford’s prediction: Hartlepool United 1-1 Colchester United
Jeevesie’s prediction: Hartlepool United 1-2 Colchester United

Brian Jeeves

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