Hoping to avoid dropping out of the Football League, both Colchester United and Barrow will be desperate for three points when the pair meet at the Colchester Community Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The pair are hovering dangerously above the drop zone, with any more slip-ups likely to present an opportunity for the sides below them to close the gap.
One league win in the last seven outings has hampered the progression of Colchester, who now enter 2022 in the midst of a relegation scrap. Carlisle United’s strong form in recent weeks has seen the one-time dead-certs for the drop, replaced by the U’s, who now face an uphill challenge to retain their League Two status. A Championship club as recently as 2007/08, United have not competed below the fourth tier since 1991/92.
Whilst their 30-year stay in the Football League may be under threat, Colchester do boast two games in hand over the sides below them, offering manager Hayden Mullins some optimism about surviving the drop. Hoping to secure a first home victory since mid-November when Barrow visit on Saturday, the away side have had troubles of their own in recent weeks.
In the midst of their second season in the Football League since returning as National League champions, Barrow’s campaign got off to a comfortable enough start, before tailing off just before Christmas. Winners in just one league match since early November, Mark Cooper’s men have dropped down the table and will begin the weekend four points ahead of 23rd place Scunthorpe United.
With neither side able to take three points from this meeting last season, Colchester ended a 50-year wait for a victory over Barrow earlier in the season. Slender 3-2 winners away to the Bluebirds, the hosts will be hoping to achieve the double over Barrow for the first time since 1970/71.
Neither side can ill-afford a loss, making the score draw a real possibility.