Date: 6th May 2007 at 7:04am
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Colchester United fans are reflecting on a fantastic first Championship season and hoping for plenty of goals at home to Crystal Place on matchday 46, the last game of the 2006-7 campaign.

During the past seven days, an independant group confirmed that the reward for promotion from the Championship would be a total £60 million, making the play-off final football’s biggest money-earner; the U’s are still in with a slim chance and fans in Essex would relish some added time on this season’s dream year.

In order for that to happen, Birmingham must beat Preston to keep them below the U’s, while the White and Blues must win their game by a big margin to stand a chance of finishing 6th on goal difference – Colchester also need Southend, their relegated rivals, to overcome Southampton and Stoke to get trounced by QPR.

Perhaps that’s one favour too many.

The Player of The season awards take place today, with 23-goal Jamie Cureton already confirmed as the club’s official prize winner; he hopes to net the Golden Boot accolade still, too.

Other than that, it’s party time at the Drome!

The strikers will be on the warpath this afternoon.

Vital Quotes:

“I think the majority of fans are seeing progress and that is what I want to see. I think they understand that after losing the players that we have lost to the Premiership it was not such an easy task to get promotion straight away.

“The supporters have had a bit of a grumble at times this year, but most fans I’ve spoke to have recognised what a difficult season it has been” – Palace boss, Peter Taylor

“Talk about punching above your weight. Whilst the likes of Leeds, are staggering around with all the punching power of a narcoleptic Audley Harrison the U`s are the equivalent of Ronnie Corbett running in and delivering a Tyson-esque upper cut. POW!

“Take that Championship! Relegation fodder? I think not. We`re one of the top 30 teams in the entire country!” – Jubilant Vital Colchester columnist CarbonDioxide, showering some lyrical lovin’ all over the Super U’s!

Colchester Team News:

Colchester’s loanee Chris Barker will miss the final game of the season through suspension after his red card against Stoke last week, and either John White or George Elukobi are expected to come into the fold.

Elukobi is more likely, given that he was given match practice from the best toward the end of the 3-1 loss at Stoke’s Britannia Stadium.

Apart from that enforced chance, the U’s other loan star Hogan Ephraim could start once more in place of Johnnie Jackson in midfield, whose fitness is still in doubt.

Team: (Probable) Gerken; Duguid, Brown, Baldwin, Elukobi; Garcia, Izzet, Watson, Ephraim; Iwelumo, Cureton.

Player to watch: Thierry Cureton & Chris Lumo-nator

Jamie Cureton (23) will want as many as possible to capture the Golden Boot to go with the Colchester’s Official Player of the Year award which, it was revealed, he has won.

Chris Iwelumo, the other half of the U’s A-team, will look to put in a great performance; understated but classy. The faithful are still hoping he has not played his last game for the club, given that his contract is up at the end of the season.

Well done, this season’s most productive paring in the Championship!

Palace Team News:

Crystal Palace are set to name an unchanged side from the won that beat Derby 2-0 last weekend, although the Rams are the only confirmed side in the play-offs at the moment.

There will be no changes to the team, despite Stuart Green, Dave Martin and Lewis Garbann all declaring themselves fit.

Place boss Taylor, who had been expected to give some youngsters a try-out in Essex this weekend, changed his mind this week, saying that it would be “unfair” to the other sides involved in the play-offs if the U’s got such an “advantage.”

Palace, do your worst!

Player to watch: Clinton Morrison

Palace have five men of their own out of contract in the summer and they will want to impress in order to win new deals – pity they’re coming to the Drome, where Colchester have lost only three all season; two of those defeats were in the first month of the season.

Clinton Morrison, who stated this week that his club will challenge for the top-six next year, is the club’s top scorer and foremost threat.

Match Facts & Stats

Match Prediction:

U’s 4 – Palace 1

Next Fixtures:

Colchester Last five games: WWDWL
Crystal Palace Last five games: WLDLW

Championship Play-off Dates, which proably won’t involve colchester:

May 12 6th V 3rd

May 15 3rd V 6th

May 13 4th V 5th

May 16 5th V 4th

May 25 – Final

Up the U’s!