Date: 5th May 2007 at 8:09am
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A most resounding statistic of Colchester United’s whirlwind debut season in the Championship is that the Essex side have not been outside of the top ten since November 25th, 2006.

“People will be expecting us to struggle next year and that is fine,” says defender Pat Baldwin, “as we will be able to prove them wrong again.”

“To even say that Colchester would finish close to the play-offs would have been incredible and we have exceeded everybody’s expectations.”

“However, behind closed doors we knew we were good enough and we are up where we are on merit.”

The U’s, who effectively ended hopes of extending the season by competing for the top-six when they lost to Stoke City last weekend, would need a whole host of favours if they are to make the potential Premiership promotion spots now.

The squad were left bitterly disappointed by that loss, which ended 3-1, especially after having a lead through Chris Iwelumo’s penalty for the best part of 55 minutes.

“It was a massive sense of disappointment to in the changing room after the game,” said Baldwin in the Essex County Standard on Friday. “It was very quite.”

“We wanted to get as high as possible and it was a great opportunity to make it into the play-offs, so it was a massive disappointment.”

Disappointment, in recent times, is not a felling that tends to linger for long around Layer Road, perhaps because Colchester’s ground is home of the loudest fans in the Football League.

“The fans have been incredible for us this season. They have created a great atmosphere both home and away”, said Baldwin.

He also sounded a note of caution amid speculation that a number of first-team players will leave this summer.

“It is important to keep the squad together over the summer and hopefully the gaffer can make some quality additions.”

Ahead of Sunday’s game at home against Crystal Palace, that sounds like a plan: “Everyone is still upbeat. We are professional footballers and are just looking forward to getting the three points.”