Dunne - Tranmere trouncing saved U's from the drop

Essex County Standard: Flashback - Magnus Okuonghae challenges for a header during their 5-1 defeat against Tranmere Rovers, last February. Picture: NIGEL BROWN (CO74611-07) Flashback - Magnus Okuonghae challenges for a header during their 5-1 defeat against Tranmere Rovers, last February. Picture: NIGEL BROWN (CO74611-07)

Colchester United manager Joe Dunne believes getting thrashed by Tranmere Rovers last season saved them from relegation to League Two.

The U’s take on Rovers for the first time since their 5-1 home mauling at the hands of Ronnie Moore’s men, in February.

The result, which followed on from Colchester’s 4-0 defeat at the hands of Rovers at Prenton Park earlier that season, left Colchester deep in relegation trouble.

But after that disappointment, they won their next two games and lost only four more matches, to stay in the third tier.

Dunne said: “I think the home defeat against them was a pivotal moment for us.

“It was the moment where we stayed in the league and our season changed, as strange as it may sound.

“We knew after that Tranmere defeat that we could step into the abyss or fight our way out of it.

“In a funny kind of way that game kept us in the league, because we got hammered that day.

“It was the point that changed everything and it wasn’t a win, it was a defeat.

“We also took a hammering at Tranmere last year and we want to go there with a really determined mindset.

“Tranmere scored nine goals against us, last year but it’s different this year and we want to go there tomorrow and give it a really good go.

“Tranmere have players who can hurt us, especially when you go up to that part of the country where the fans are very passionate about their football.

“We’ll have to be ready but we can take encouragement from the kind of spirit we showed against MK Dons and we’ll be looking for the same again.”

Colchester are hoping that midfield duo Craig Eastmond and David Wright will shake off knocks, ahead of the game at Tranmere.

Eastmond suffered an ankle knock in the U’s 3-1 win over MK Dons on Tuesday night, while Wright suffered an impact injury in the game.

Colchester will also check on the fitness of Marcus Bean, who missed the victory over Dons with a slight hamstring problem.

“Marcus has been doing ever so well,” said Dunne, who said Sanchez Watt is not likely to return for at least another month from his quad injury.

“With the break that we have coming up, I have to decide whether to bring him back in or we get through tomorrow without him.

“I certainly won’t put Marcus at risk when we’ve got a break coming up and it’s a decision that the physio (Tony Flynn) and I will make.”

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