Colchester United boss Ben Garner believes the trip to League Two leaders Gillingham is a great opportunity for his side this weekend.

Bottom visits top on Saturday, as pointless U's travel to face a Gills side with a perfect record after their first four matches.

Garner's men suffered a third successive loss of the campaign at home to MK Dons, as two late goals earned the visitors a 3-2 victory.

This weekend's opponents, meanwhile, have chalked up four 1-0 wins in a row to sit in pole position.

But Garner told the club website: "We're well aware of the challenge ahead of us, but I think it's a great game for us.

"A great opportunity for us to go and bust a couple of coupons and have an upset and that will do us the world of good.

"We go there and win, I think the season is up and running, it will give the players a lot of confidence and build the group."

After a busy start to the 2023-24 campaign, Garner has been grateful to get a full week to prepare for their next assignment.

He added: "We've had a quick run of games in a short space of time. With the disruption of the first game being called off, it's been a difficult start.

"There's been some challenges to it and we've been disappointed with the points, we haven't picked any up in the league and we want to put that right as quickly as possible.

"To have a full week on the training ground, to be able to get some work into the players, bring one or two back into the fold has been really helpful."

As to what U's will need to do to upset the formbook, Garner is very clear.

"We have to be more resilient, more solid. We've done a lot of defensive work this week," he said.

"On the flipside of that, we haven't seen how they've had to react to going behind yet this season.

"Let's go there and get the first goal and see how the game pans out when they've got to come out and chase, and try and chase points rather than holding onto them.

"They haven't had to face that this season and hopefully we can be the first team that goes ahead and gives them that challenge."

Gillingham were having problems of their own last year and Garner paid tribute to the work done by opposite number Neil Harris.

"It goes to show where Gillingham were November, December last year and the run they were on and the difficulties they were facing, I remember speaking to Neil around January time around some of it," he said.

"New ownership has gone in and they've obviously had some investment, but you still have to invest that money well and sign the right players.

"It's very much a team in his mould now I would say, you can see that. It's going to be a tough test.

"They've got a really talented squad now, real depth there. They're hard-working, organised, very resilient, not letting goals in and they've got threats at the top end of the pitch."