U’s hoping for a friendly roar against the Lions

Pre-season action: Courtney Senior, who has looked lively in this summer's friendlies, shields the b

Pre-season action: Courtney Senior, who has looked lively in this summer's friendlies, shields the ball from Braintree's Joe Ellull. Picture: JON WEAVER - Credit: Archant

Colchester United face a step up in class, when they entertain Millwall in their first of two home pre-season friendlies at the JobServe Community Stadium this evening (kick-off 7.45pm).

The U’s have so far enjoyed a productive pre-season, in terms of results and performances, albeit against lower level opposition.

They needed a late own goal to secure a 1-0 win at National League South hosts Dartford in their last outing, on Saturday, following on from a 1-1 draw at National League side Dagenham & Redbridge the previous Tuesday.

John McGreal’s men had kicked off their programme of friendlies with three away wins at Maldon & Tiptree, Braintree Town and Colwyn Bay.

Several of the U’s summer signings have caught the eye, particularly Wolves loanee striker Aaron Collins, and experienced front-runner Frank Nouble.

And midfielder Harry Pell looks sure to be a force in central midfield for the U’s, following his switch from Cheltenham.

U’s boss McGreal insisted: “I don’t read anything into the results. Friendlies are about minutes and taking the habits we’re forming in training into matches.

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“But fitness-wise, the boys are where I’d expect them to be.”

Championship outfit Millwall will certainly provide sterner opposition tonight, with boss Neil Harris having done a good job at the South London club – the Lions finished an impressive eighth last season, just three points adrift of the play-offs.

Harris is likely to make a number of changes against the U’s, following on from last weekend’s 2-0 win over Cambridge United, as he lays the foundations for a season opener against Middlesbrough on Saturday week – the U’s begin their League Two campaign at Notts County on the same day.

Harris looks set to field a completely different defence, and midfield, against the U’s, with the likes of Byron Webster, Murray Wallace, James Meredith, George Saville and Ryan Tunnicliffe all likely to start.

Lions boss Harris revealed: “I wouldn’t go as far as saying everyone who didn’t start (at Cambridge) will start (against Colchester), because that won’t be the case. But the majority of the players that didn’t start will start on Tuesday.”

The U’s have another home friendly against Gillingham this Saturday.

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