Cameron James is all set for another big Colchester United away-day

Cameron James looks to get past Grimsby's Sam Jones during Tuesday night's 1-0 defeat at Blundell P

Cameron James looks to get past Grimsby's Sam Jones during Tuesday night's 1-0 defeat at Blundell Park, It was James' first senior away appearance. He is set to start against Cambridge today. Picture: RICHARD BLAXALL - Credit: Richard Blaxall / Pagepix

Cameron James wants to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Alex Gilbey, Tom Lapslie and Frankie Kent, by making the successful transition from young Academy product to first-team regular.

Teenage defender James made his first-ever senior away appearance on Tuesday night, in a 1-0 defeat at Grimsby Town, and he is set for another away start at East Anglian rivals Cambridge United this afternoon (kick-off 3pm).

The 19-year-old has been thrust into the League Two limelight sooner than expected, due to the U’s ever-increasing injury list, which includes fellow centre-halves Luke Prosser, Tom Eastman, Kent, Lloyd Doyley and Jermaine Grandison.

But he is loving every minute of it, and taking his big chance with both hands.

“It gives me encouragement, knowing that there is a good pathway from the youth team into the first team,” explained James.

“Players like Sammie Szmodics, Tom Lapslie, Frankie Kent and even Alex Gilbey before them have all inspired me, and I want to follow in their footsteps and see what happens.

“I feel that I have taken my chance, and settled in quite quickly. It’s come out-of-the-blue for me, though I had been training with the first team during the season.

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“I don’t think I’ve played too badly in recent matches, in my eyes, and I want to keep pushing now.

“They are big games coming up, against Cambridge and Portsmouth (next weekend), and we can’t keep using all the injuries as an excuse for the rest of the season.

“We have got to move on, and at least we have a couple of players coming back into the squad, in Sammie (Szmodics) and Lewis Kinsella, which will give everyone a boost,” added James.

Chelmsford-born James, who can operate as a right-back and in central midfield, as well as a centre-back, made his senior debut on the final day of last season, as a substitute in the 2-1 home defeat to Rochdale. Today’s trip to the Abbey Stadium will in fact be his seventh outing.

James added: “I’m looking forward to this weekend, and playing in front of a big crowd. We will have a lot of fans there, and I’ll probably get goose bumps again. The fans play a big part.”

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