In what will be the first cup tie of the season for the Eagles, Colchester United are the visitors to Selhurst Park in the Carabao Cup so we took the opportunity to have a chat with the guys at The ColU Podcast.
Q. What are your hopes for the season, your fourth since relegation from League One?
For the last couple of seasons we have had a brilliant team but one thing it lacks is experience. So, as a young team mainly built of academy players, experience was hard to come by. After a couple seasons of peaks and troughs we invested in the market and bought some experience. This meant instead of just gaining a lead we could also protect it, as this is what we lacked. This season, with all in place, even though we have lost a couple key players I still think we can sneak a play off spot as we are very much underdogs this year.
Q. How much of a blow was it to miss out on the play-offs last season by a single point?
It was massive. It lead to us losing some very key players. Kane Vincent-Young (Ipswich £500k+), Sammie Szmodics (Bristol City £800k+) and Frankie Kent (Peterborough United £600k) have all been sold but we have brought in some good players in Jevani Brown, Cohen Bramall and Omar Sowunmi to cover what we have lost. It is never going to be a success straight away but I am sure they will do a good job covering the holes that were left. To miss out by just a point in the 87th minute of the final game was massive for us.
Q. It has been a tough start to season hasn’t it but are you expecting that to change?
We probably could not have asked for a easier start but one way or another we have turned out to be fighting ourselves at times as individual and managerial errors left us slipping up multiple times already. There are definitely some big changes that need to be made – the manager being probably the biggest right now.
Q. Are fans fully behind boss John McGreal?
It is 50/50, some fans back him but some don’t. But he is making it harder and harder to put our trust in him. He is a good coach but not a good manager. He can certainly improve players but in terms of tactics and constructing a team he isn’t great. It’s always win the game our way or not win at all. We are one of the only teams in Leagues 1 and 2 who play on the floor fast attacking football, but sometimes you need a plan B but John McGreal doesn’t have one and it takes its toll on the team sometimes.
Q. How was the summer transfer window been for the club – were all needs addressed?
Most of the needs were addressed but not to the same quality of the players that left. I’m sure time will show that the players we brought in can be as good or better then the players who left. We still need a back up full back, a striker and if we are lucky a spare midfielder as our two best midfielders are currently injured.
Q. What does it mean to a club like Colchester to draw a Premier League club in a cup competition?
It’s massive for us. We haven’t got past the first round in this cup competition since 2010 so to finally get through and to draw a club as big as Palace is great for us. We have a small but loyal and dedicated fan base so I’m sure we will make ourselves heard. It’s good for the team as well as previously stated. We have had a sticky start to the season so a good performance will go a long way and set us up for the rest of the season.
Q. One to watch for Colchester this season?
We have a couple as our team could qualify for the under 23s. Our main one right now is Courtney Senior, he has lightning pace and could dribble past multiple players before setting it up for somebody or finishing himself. Tom Lapslie, currently injuried but could be back for the game, is one of the most dedicated and hardworking players I’ve ever seen. He will run the whole pitch in the 90th minute for a tackle, the boy loves a slide tackle.
Q. Name a player from each side that you believe will be a threat in this game?
The obvious one is Wilfried Zaha (if he plays) but you certainly have a very decent team – Andros Townsend and Patrick van Aanholt will be big threats. Courtney Senior will definitely give whoever full back he is up against a hard time. It will be an interesting game.
Q. Perhaps you could share your opinions on Palace both as a club and what you expect from us this season?
I love a club with history so Palace is a club I like to follow. I love the stadium and the fans. I expect a mid-table finish from you guys this season, maybe even top half. I think the main thing is using Jordan Ayew and Zaha. Keeping them fit is a must.
Q. Your prediction?
I think it will be quite even for the first half but then I would expect you guys to start showing your Premier League fitness as the game wears on. As a lower league fan I never predict against the team so I’m going for a 2-1 win to us.