Manchester United v Colchester United – Old Trafford – Carabao Cup Quarter-final – Wednesday 8pm
Manchester United v Colchester United – Preview:
It’s almost half a century since Ray Crawford scored twice helping Fourth Division Colchester United dump Leeds United – led by Don Revie and arguably the best team in the country at that time – out of the FA Cup, earning the North Essex side their place in the annals of footballing history.
But as that milestone draws ever closer, Crawford has urged the current crop of U’s players to go out and write their own chapter for future generations of Colchester supporters to wax lyrical over.
The U’s head to Old Trafford for their Carabao Cup quarter-final tie with Manchester United, having already dispatched strong Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur sides from the competition. And Crawford believes that John McGreal’s men have proved they have the battling qualities to cause a massive upset in the north-west.
“It’s time the Colchester fans had another team to talk about,” Crawford told Yellow Sport.
“The supporter will always have us as well as the Conference and League One promotion teams to recall, but how fantastic would it be to have a lasting memory of beating one of the biggest clubs in the world on their own ground?
“Of course, like with us in 1971, plenty of people will have already written Colchester off. But this team have already knocked out Palace and Spurs. They also go there full of confidence after coming back in the league at Scunthorpe on Saturday – anything could happen.”
Crawford continued: “The players have to ask themselves whether they want to just enjoy the occasion or to run out onto Old Trafford and give it everything they have and try to cause another upset – leave nothing behind. I’m pretty sure we all know the answer.
“Whatever team Manchester United field, the pressure will all be on them, simply because they are Manchester United. Colchester will have a huge following too, it’s going to be a momentous occasion for the football club.”
And Crawford is backing the U’s to upset their illustrious hosts, adding: “People will say I’m mad, but we’ve already beaten two Premier League sides to get here.
“Manchester United are a wonderful club, but it’s eleven versus eleven. I think we can hold them and take it to another penalty shootout. Tom Eastman and Luke Prosser have been terrific at the back for Colchester. Surely, we couldn’t do it again – could we?”
Manchester United v Colchester United – Head to head:
Manchester United won: 2
Colchester United won: 0
Manchester United v Colchester United – Previous meetings:
February 20, 1979 – FA Cup
Colchester United 0-1 Manchester United
November 8, 1983 – League Cup
Colchester United 0-2 Manchester United
Ray Crawford’s prediction: Manchester United 1-1 Colchester United (Colchester to win on penalties)
Jeevesie’s prediction: Manchester United 3-0 Colchester United