Ray Crawford on the U’s v Exeter City – A first-leg advantage is vital to U’s

Colchester United v Exeter City – JobServe Community Stadium – Sky Bet League Two play-off (first-leg) Thursday 5:15pm

Colchester United v Exeter City – Preview;

RAY CRAWFORD will be cheering Colchester United on in front of the television, delighted and excited to see his former club back in action following the coronavirus curtailment.

The former U’s frontman is delighted that the north Essex will get a shot at promotion but believes their two-legged Sky Bet League Two play-off semi-final with bogey team, Exeter City, will be extremely difficult to call.

“Both league matches were drawn and now it’s almost like they are starting again – fitness and a first-leg advantage will be vital,” he told Yellow Sport.

“The unscheduled break has been longer than any pre-season with my generation of the current crop will have experienced. I think these days, the players are in better condition. They have individual training programs during downtime. We didn’t do anything like that, but it will be interesting to see how quickly they get back up to speed.

“I know Colchester had a warm-up game with Millwall over the weekend but these matches are very different from the real thing. It will all come down to who has prepared the most during the short time they’ve had together. I know we’ve not beaten Exeter in five attempts, but anything could happen this time around.”

Crawford heaped praise on members of the U’s squad who have remained focused on the promotion quest, despite knowing the club are unable to offer them new contracts due to the financial effects of the pandemic.

Luke Prosser, Frank Nouble, Ryan Jackson and Brandon Comley look likely to be playing out their Colchester careers while leading marksman, Theo Robinson, will not be offered a deal despite extending his loan from Southend United for what remains of the campaign.

“Their professionalism is to be applauded,” Crawford continued.

“I think they have shown the camaraderie within the group which is really important when you are in a situation like this where something important is at stake.

“This whole situation has been mentally challenging on everyone and football is very much secondary. But I know what a boost it will be for the fans to see their favourites again, even if it’s on the TV for the time being until we can all be together again.”

Colchester United v Exeter City – Head to head;

Colchester United won; 27
Drawn; 23
Exeter City won; 31

Colchester United v Exeter City – Last five meetings (all competitions);

May 5, 2018 – League Two
Exeter City 1-0 Colchester United

November 24, 2018 – League Two
Colchester United 1-1 Exeter City

March 16, 2019 – League Two
Exeter City 3-0 Colchester United

December 19, 2019 – League Two
Colchester United 2-2 Exeter City

January 25, 2020 – League Two
Exeter City 0-0 Colchester United

Ray Crawford’s prediction; Colchester United 1-0 Exeter City
Jeevesie’s prediction; Colchester United 2-1 Exeter City

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]