Match Preview: County v Colchester United

County have the opportunity to equal a fourth-tier record at Edgeley Park on Saturday, as we take on Colchester United looking for a 12th straight league win.

Although our 13-game winning run in all competitions came to an end on Tuesday night in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy, a stunning fight-back at Swindon in our last league outing saw Dave Challinor’s side maintain a five-point lead at the top of League Two.

The last side to win 12 consecutive matches in League Two/the fourth tier was Luton Town back in 2002 – whilst County are now just three wins away from the all-time EFL record of 14, last set by Preston North End in the 1950/51 campaign.

With 4th place Crewe Alexandra not in action this weekend, meaning another three points at Edgeley Park will see County further cement their place in the automatic promotion places. Elsewhere on Saturday, closest rivals Wrexham travel to Accrington Stanley, whilst 3rd place Mansfield host Newport.

Opponents Colchester are currently on their best run of the season, enjoying a new lease of life under recently appointed Matthew Etherington. Only a stoppage-time equaliser from Sutton United last weekend denied the U’s a fourth straight win in League Two and they come into this game in 16th, having opened up a healthy seven-point gap between themselves and the bottom two.

Things you need to know:

  • Tickets in the Vitality Railway End are still available for this fixture, with all other stands sold out! Click here to order yours today!
  • We encourage supporters to find sustainable ways of travelling to the game where possible. There is now bike storage available in the car park behind the Vitality Railway End, allowing supporters cycling to the game to store their bikes during the game.
  • Coming to the game on Saturday? Click here to view our Fan Information pack, containing all you need to know ahead of your visit to Edgeley Park.
  • As it takes place during an international break, Saturday’s game will be available for all supporters to watch over on Stockport County Live, featuring live match commentary from Jon Keighren and Sam Byrne. Click here to purchase your video match passes today.

Our Opponents:

2022/23 proved to be a turbulent season on and off the pitch for Colchester United, who went through three permanent managers and narrowly avoided relegation into non-league for the first time since 1992.

Five defeats from their opening nine games saw them part company with manager Wayne Brown in September, whilst replacement Matt Bloomfield would himself last only 27 games before departing to take the vacant managerial role at former club, Wycombe Wanderers.

Kyle Wootton scored the winner in both games against Colchester last season, and has really hit the ground running since returning from injury.

The U’s then turned to Ben Garner, just three months on from the 42-year-old’s sacking at League One Charlton Athletic. Garner inherited a side sat 19th in League Two at the time – nine points clear of the relegation zone. His first game in charge actually came against County in League Two, with a Kyle Wootton header goal securing a 1-0 away win for the Hatters.

That remained his only defeat from his first nine games in charge, although five draws at that time meant they failed to make any progress up the league table. They eventually finished the campaign in 20th, six points clear of the bottom two.

Despite an active transfer window that saw 12 new players brought in over the Summer, the Essex side again failed to hit the ground running this season with nine defeats from the opening 13 league games, ultimately resulting in Garner losing his job. He departed having won seven of his 28 games in charge, with the club dropping into the bottom two after a home defeat to Harrogate in his final game.

Former Stoke City winger Matty Etherington was placed in interim charge, just his second managerial role after an extraordinarily brief stint at Crawley Town last season. The 42-year-old has had an exceptional start to life in the dugout, with wins against Grimsby Town, Accrington Stanley and Swindon Town in his first three league games.

That Odin Bailey stunner last weekend was a long time coming…

Although they were denied at the death by Sutton last weekend, the U’s have managed to put some distance between themselves and the drop zone, and may soon start to look up the table rather than down. The upturn in results has this week seen Etherington given the job on a permanent basis.

The youngest squad in League Two right now, with an average age of around 22, have started to find their feet, with top scorer Joe Taylor at the heart of that with seven goals. They will have to cope without their main man on Saturday however – the Luton Town loanee is currently away on international duty with Wales U21s.

Match Stats:

  • Colchester have proven difficult opposition for County in the past, with just ten wins and 23 defeats in 48 previous encounters, all in league competition. We did, however, complete a first ever league double over the U’s last season, winning 1-0 home and away.
  • Kyle Wootton has now scored six and assisted four in his last four appearances. County have never lost a game in which the big man has scored.
  • Odin Bailey’s goal last weekend was his first in the Football League since May 2021, when he scored for Forest Green Rovers in a 3-0 win over Oldham Athletic.


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