Harrogate Town v Colchester United: Sulphurites looking to extend unbeaten start to 2024
The Sulphurites head into the fixture in fine fettle having won six of their previous nine League Two matches and buoyed by the fact that they managed to hold top-of-the-table Stockport County in their own back yard last time out.
That 1-1 draw means that Simon Weaver’s men have now lost just once in 10 league matches, a run of form which leaves them on the verge of breaking into the play-offs.
Eighth in the table and level on points with seventh-placed Notts County - the side currently occupying the division’s last play-off berth - Town’s surge up the standings has created a real sense of belief within their dressing room.
"There’s a real self-belief among the squad, we don’t really fear anyone, to be honest,” said midfielder Dean Cornelius following his goal against Stockport at the weekend.
"We’re a good unit, we are playing good football and we have got a real identity.
"We are just looking forward to the next games and trying to build on a good run, trying to keep that undefeated run going.”
If Town are to carry on their impressive recent run, they will need to perform far better than they have done in their last two meetings with Colchester at Wetherby Road.
The Sulphurites cruised to a 3-0 victory on their first-ever Football League fixture against the U’s at Wetherby Road, centre-half Will Smith bagging a brace after Mark Beck had opened the scoring early on during a game played behind closed doors back in 2020/21.
But the following season saw Harrogate lose out 2-1, while they went down 3-1 last term, a result which condemned them to a fourth consecutive reverse at the hands of the Essex outfit.
That sequence of results was however ended earlier this season when Town came from a goal down to triumph 2-1 at Colchester, Matty Daly and substitute Sam Folarin the men on target.
As has been the case in each of the three previous campaigns, the U’s have found themselves struggling at the wrong end of the table this term. They head to North Yorkshire 21st in the table, seven points clear of the relegation zone.
Their survival hopes have been boosted significantly by the appointment of former Lincoln City, Huddersfield Town and Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley as manager.Colchester are unbeaten in four matches since his arrival, which followed on from a run which saw them win only one of their previous 10 games, collecting just four points from a possible 30.
Last time out, they came from 2-0 down to draw 3-3 at home to bottom-of-the-table Forest Green Rovers.