By Tony Leighton
Colchester United are good enough to end their relegation fears this week, says captain Brian Wilson as the inconsistent U's look to take maximum points from their home games against Milton Keynes Dons and Shrewsbury Town.
Wins in both matches would guarantee Wilson and his colleagues, currently five points above the drop zone, npower League 1 survival. But fans will be biting finger nails as their favorites approach the end of a roller-coaster season.
Right-back Wilson told football-league.co.uk: "We're not safe, so these next two games are absolutely vital. We're obviously disappointed to be in the position we're in, but the spirit in the squad is good and we believe we can stay up."
It could have been so different for the U's. Having been in the drop zone when Joe Dunne took over as manager in late September, a run of five wins from Dunne's first six league matches lifted them into the top half of the table.
But a disastrous sequence of results followed, the next 13 games bringing just four points from a possible 39 as Dunne's team lost 11 outings - the last nine of them in succession - to plunge back down to the bottom four.
They have hovered around there since, to the frustration of all concerned and no-one more than Wilson, who after helping his team finish 10th in his first two seasons with the club was expecting more from the current campaign.
The experienced former Stoke City, Cheltenham Town and Bristol City defender, 29, said: "After what we did in the last two seasons and with the squad of players we've got, we shouldn't be down at the bottom end of the table.
"We've put behind us that terrible run of results we had in the middle of the season and we've shown some good form since then, but we haven't been consistent enough and that's why we're still in a dangerous position.
"We lost at Notts County on Saturday, but since that really bad run we had we've always bounced back straight away from a defeat and we have to do that again against MK Dons in front of our own fans on Tuesday night.
"They also lost on Saturday, and to Leyton Orient who we beat in our last home match. Both of those teams are going for the Play-Offs, but we we're worth our win against Orient and there's no reason why we can't beat MK Dons as well.
"If we can do that it will set us up nicely for Saturday's game against Shrewsbury, who are also not far above the relegation zone. But all we're concerned with at the moment is the MK Dons game - and it's a must-win game."
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