Sky Bet League Two is looking as competitive as ever and, right now, over half the division will fancy their chances of promotion.
Among the group, it’s Colchester United who lead the way goal-scoring wise with 25 strikes so far from 12 games.
Ahead of their clash with Crawley Town, then, I caught up with their leading scorer Luke Norris to reflect on things so far – as well as get some insight into the dressing room at the JobServe Community Stadium…
“We’ve had a really good start. I believe it’s been the club’s best in about 17 years so we’re off to a real good start.
“We dipped a bit last week where we dropped out of the top seven but that’s been the only negative really. Apart from that it’s been really good.”
A relatively new face at the club, Norris has quickly settled in with six League Two goals. Clearly, the U’s have gelled quickly:
“It’s always hard going to a new club but I knew a few of the lads here and that always makes it easier.”
“People move quite a lot so that always makes it a bit easier too. Everyone has gelled really quickly, we had a few new faces coming in and it’s been a good time so far.”
It’s been a bright start, for sure, and being just two goals off leading scorer James Norwood means Norris is well in the race for the Golden Boot:
“As a centre-forward, all you want is goals really so if I’m in the race for it then it’s always a personal achievement.
“It would be a great thing to achieve but there’s a lot of football to be played.”
A player that’s proved a real handful so far, Norris explains his centre-forward style that has served him so well this year.
“I’m 25 now and I’ve been playing a few years so I’ve got experience.
“I’m more the sort of old-school centre-forward, the Alan Shearer-type; they’re my favourite sort of players so they’re the people I looked up to when I was younger.”
It’s not just Norris banging them in, though, the rest of his side are weighing in across the pitch:
“Our main strength is going forward, we’ve got goals all over the team.
“Centre-halves, full-backs, in midfield, everyone is chipping in which is always a good thing to have in a team. We always set up to win games of football. We never play for a draw because we know we’re best when we’re going forwards, so we’ll attack every game.
“If we go a goal down we know we are going to score and we always say if we keep a clean sheet we’re going to win the game because we sort of certain we’re going to score a goal.”
Certainly, it could prove a crucial edge in the race for promotion this season, and the U’s are aiming for the top three:
“As a club promotion was always the aim from day one. We’ve got a good squad and if we didn’t aim for that then what would be the point really?
“We’re aiming for the top three and that is our main aim but the minimum is play-offs.”
Tomorrow sees Norris and co. take on Crawley Town at home. A side level on points with the Essex outfit, it’s another important game in the ever-competitive fourth tier:
“Every game – especially at home – is a must-win. Especially when we’re playing a team in and around us you have to win those games. We haven’t been too good against teams around us so that’s something we need to address but hopefully, we can do that tomorrow.”
In terms of the best side he’s faced so far, though, Norris comes up with perhaps a surprising suggestion given the look of the table right now:
“I thought Northampton were very good and they’ve sort of struggled this year.
“They’ve got a very good squad and things haven’t happened for them but they played really well against us and gave us our first loss at home. For me, they were very good.
“There’s always a team that is down near the bottom for a few months and then they put a run together so I wouldn’t be surprised if they ended up near the play-offs.”
All in all, then, things seem to be pretty upbeat at the club right now, and it’s clear from the striker’s guide to the dressing room that there’s a very healthy atmosphere amongst the players…
Norris, though, isn’t a fan of Harry Pell’s taste in clothing…
“Just to wind him up I’m going to say Harry Pell’s the worst dressed – everyone gets on his gear!
“He just lives in ASOS Tall and Skinny because of his bodyshape so he struggles – he needs a bit of advice. I’m happy to rib him. He can’t wear my gear and I definitely won’t wear his gear…”
The midfielder, though, does get some respite:
“In terms of the best laugh, it’s Harry Pell again. He’s really good in the dressing room.”
It’s on the way to away games where things really get serious, though, especially for Aaron Collins:
“We play cards on every away trip. It’s me, Harry, Tom Eastman, Aaron Collins and Tom Lapslie.
“We all play cards and Aaron Collins gives us money every single week so we get quite competitive with that which is good fun.
“Aaron needs a few weeks off or he’ll have to take a loan out.”
And, when they get to the games, you’ll find only one man in charge of the music:
“Frank Nouble always has a speaker with him.
“He’s the club DJ and he’s very good. He’s got a variety and sorts everyone out. It’s not just one group, he’s got something for everyone. He knows, he’s got a lot of experience.”