John Yems’ Reds will travel to the Jobserve Community Stadium to take on Colchester United, who sit in eleventh position in the Sky Bet League Two table, in our fifteenth league fixture of the season.
Despite two fantastic FA Cup performances in November, seeing the Reds sail into the third round where we will play Premier League Leeds United, recent league form has not been so spectacular, with three defeats and one draw in our last four games, achieving only one point and dropping from the play-off places to fifteenth in League Two.
The Reds showcased some good football in our last league away trip, as we drew 1-1 with Harrogate down after dominating the opening 45 minutes. Max Watters scored and now has seven in the league, but a late Jack Muldoon goal stole two points from Crawley, who are looking to get back to winning ways tonight - two days after our Emirates FA Cup victory over AFC Wimbledon.
Last week the Reds were beaten at home by both Carlisle United and Grimsby Town, but a sublime cup performance at Plough Lane showcased the Reds desire to turn our fortunes around in the upcoming weeks, as both Ashley Nadesan and Max Watters netted to help us advance to an exciting fixture against Leeds United.
It has been an up and down season so far for Colchester, who have achieved big wins against the likes of Forest Green and Bolton but have lost out three times in the league, with their most recent result being a 6-1 away loss to Exeter City last Tuesday.
Colchester conceded a mighty 12 corners as well as 27 goal attempts, whilst only having 8 themselves, converting one which was scored by Michael Folivi, who joined them after playing for AFC Wimbledon last season.
In our most recent clash against the U’s, the Reds claimed a 1-1 draw on New Year’s Day of 2020 at the Jobserve Community Stadium, as Ollie Palmer struck soon after a Frank Nouble opener in the second-half to level the scoring in a tightly contested game.
We also faced Colchester on two other occasions last season, winning 2-1 at home in the league, thanks to goals from Reece Grego-Cox and Mason Bloomfield only weeks before a disappointing 3-1 loss in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup, after Dannie Bulman gave us the lead with an emphatic strike.
Since 2012, we have played against Colchester a total of 16 times, with Crawley winning 7 of these ties, and Colchester winning only 4 times.
Despite losing Frank Nouble in the summer to Plymouth Argyle, where he now plays alongside Ex-Red Panutche Camara, Colchester United possess many attacking threats, some of which will be well-known to the Reds supporters.
Jevani Brown has seven league goals in thirteen appearances for the home side, netting hat-tricks against Stevenage and Southend in the EFL Trophy, as well as a home brace against Leyton Orient, in a week where he scored eight times within the space of two weeks in November.
As well as Brown, wingers Courtney Senior and Kwame Poku express rapid pace from wide positions, and experienced attackers Callum Harriott and Luke Norris are also available for selection.
Harry Pell will captain the side from the heart of midfield in his third season for the U’s, and Ex-Arsenal full-back, Cohen Bramall is likely to feature after playing in every league game this season so far.
Tom McGill and Reece Grego-Cox are unavailable for tonight’s game. Jake Hesketh and Tom Nichols are also doubts.
HOW THEY BET*
Colchester United - 6/5
Draw - 12/5
Crawley Town - 23/10
The match will be streamed live on iFollow as Ken Blackmore joins Stuart Smith on commentary from 18:55.