Swindon Town travel to Essex on the opening day of the Sky Bet League Two season for a clash with the U’s.
The sides will head into Saturday’s curtain-raiser with a renewed sense of optimism and the promise of a fresh start, having both experienced disappointing campaigns last time out.
A lowdown on the hosts
Colchester United was formed in 1937, and the U’s early years were spent playing in the Southern Football League until they were elected into the Football League in 1950.
The club have, in recent years, spent the majority of its time in League One and Two, after achieving a historic 10th-place finish in the Championship in 2007 - the club’s highest ever.
Since 2016, Colchester have plied their trade in League Two. Of the seven successive seasons spent in England’s fourth division, the U’s strongest campaign came in 2019/20, when the impact of Covid-19 meant that instead of having a go at the play-offs, they were placed 6th on a points-per-game basis.
Last time out
Town last faced the U’s back on New Year’s Day at the JobServe Community Stadium, when both sides were under different management - with Scott Lindsey at the helm and Matt Bloomfield in the dugout for the hosts.
It was Colchester who secured all three points that afternoon, with Luke Hannant’s first-half header enough to seal victory for the home side.
22/23: Colchester United 1-0 Swindon Town L
22/23: Swindon Town 1-0 Colchester United W
21/22: Colchester United 1-1 Swindon Town D
21/22 (EFL Trophy): Swindon Town 1-2 Colchester United L
21/22: Swindon Town 0-0 Colchester United D
The manager: Ben Garner
Ben Garner, a familiar name for Town supporters, was appointed as the head coach of Colchester United at the beginning of March after the dismissal of Matt Bloomfield.
Garner, 43, boasts a host of EFL coaching experience, having held positions at Crystal Palace, West Bromwich Albion, Bristol Rovers, Charlton Athletic, and of course Swindon Town.
During his season at the County Ground, Garner led the team whilst under a transfer embargo, handed professional debuts to 13 players, and reached the FA Cup third round and the semi-finals of the play-offs.
One to watch: Noah Chilvers
Colchester’s top goalscorer last term, Noah Chilvers, looks set to pose just as much of a threat this time around.
The U’s midfielder, who joined the club’s academy at the age of nine, finished last season with nine goals and one assist – a strong return for a 21-year-old from 34 starts.
Travelling Town supporters are advised that there is a full weekend closure of the A12 northbound, between the entrance and exit slips of junction 25, which will affect journeys to and from Colchester’s JobServe Community Stadium.
Long delays are expected, so please plan your journey accordingly.