Ray Crawford: You only realise how the fans feel when you become one

Colchester United v Cheltenham Town – JobServe Community Stadium – Sky Bet League Two – Saturday 3pm

Colchester United v Cheltenham Town – Preview:

Ray Crawford will be amongst the crowd at the JobServe Community Stadium for Colchester United’s huge Sky Bet League Two showdown with fellow play-off hopefuls, Cheltenham Town, on Saturday.

The U’s returned to winning ways at Salford City last weekend, thanks to stunning goals from Kwame Poku and Callum Harriott. But with a number of teams vying for a top-seven finish and the U’s faithful having their nerve severely tested, Crawford sent out a message to John McGreal’s men, explaining just how much promotion will mean to the north Essex outfit.

“I don’t think players realise just how much the result affects the supporters until they end their careers and become a fan,” Crawford told Yellow Sport.

“When the team is challenging, either to stay up or go up, supporters think of nothing else all week. It will affect them at home, at work – that’s a big responsibility on the people who ultimately control those emotions – the players.

“There is no room for error, now. Colchester have to keep winning – they certainly can’t afford any slip-ups. It’s so tight at the top.

“It thought the two goals at Salford were top-draw – real quality. That was the mark of a team with players hell-bent on winning promotion. I just hope we can see it through, reach the play-offs and finish the season in style at Wembley.

But the U’s immediate thoughts are on Cheltenham – One point and one place above the U’s and off the back of four straight league victories.
“This is all set up for a cracker,” Crawford added.

“They are on a decent run, but that shouldn’t deter Colchester. We have largely done well against the teams at the top. With the right mentality and a good crowd right behind the team, then I see no reason why we can’t take all three points.”

Crawford continued: “The whole club has to be united. The players need the fans because they realise this is the best chance they’ve had to win promotion since they came down.

“That has been a long road for the supporters. They have had their patients tested, suffered the struggles. It’s them – the fans – who deserve to have a successful Colchester United. I’ve been a player, and now I sit with them with the same hopes and dreams.

Colchester United v Cheltenham Town – Head to head:

Colchester United won: 8
Drawn: 3
Cheltenham Town won: 5

Colchester United v Cheltenham Town – Last five meetings (all competitions):

January 6, 2018 – League Two
Colchester United 1-4 Cheltenham Town

August 14, 2018 – Carabao Cup
Cheltenham Town 2-2 Colchester United
(Cheltenham Town won 6-5 on penalties)

September 1, 2018 – League Two
Cheltenham Town 1-3 Colchester United

February 9, 2019 – League Two
Colchester United 3-0 Cheltenham Town

November 23, 2019 – League Two
Cheltenham Town 1-1 Colchester United

Ray Crawford’s prediction: Colchester United 2-0 Cheltenham Town
Jeevesie’s prediction: Colchester United 2-1 Cheltenham Town

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]