Colchester United’s Luke Prosser surprises even his manager

Luke Prosser, a key figure for Colchester United. Picture: PAGEPIX

Luke Prosser, a key figure for Colchester United. Picture: PAGEPIX - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

he long-awaited return of Luke Prosser, to the Colchester United starting line-up last weekend, almost went under the radar.

But the importance of Prosser resuming his sweeper duties, at the heart of a three-man defence, after a 14-month absence with a serious knee injury, cannot be overestimated.

Attacker Courtney Senior got most of the plaudits, for his dazzling display during the 2-0 home win over Newport County, while Ben Stevenson was also in the spotlight for his goal-scoring U’s debut.

But Prosser’s quiet return, in a three-man defence, did more than anything to earn the U’s a first win in seven league games, and an encouraging clean-sheet.

The 29-year-old will hope to retain his place at Carlisle United tomorrow afternoon, despite competition from a fit-again Ryan Inniss. Certainly, manager John McGreal has an embarrassment of riches, in terms of central defenders, with the in-form duo of Tom Eastman and Frankie Kent, plus Cole Kpewaka, also available.

That led to the luxury of being able to loan out Cameron James to Chelmsford City last weekend.

- U’s boss expecting a reaction from Carlisle

McGreal, himself a centre-half during his playing days, knows the worth of having his club captain back in the fold, from the first whistle.

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“I don’t moan about the injuries, but he’s (Prosser’s) the captain of football club,” explained McGreal.

“He came in (signed from Southend) and did particularly well at the start, before we lost him to injury.

“Now he’s back and has been a catalyst for the younger lads. He’s got to try and stay fit now, and he’s an older boy who knows how to manage his body more.

“Ryan (Inniss) is back as well, so there’s competition for places.

“In my opinion, Luke has done well to get himself back into this kind of shape. It’s surprised me, and a few others as well.

“Last week, he played for the under-23s against QPR (on Monday), and also for the first team against Newport. That’s two 90 minutes he got himself through last week.

Luke was pivotal to our win last weekend,” added McGreal.

The Newport game was Prosser’s first senior start since the FA Cup defeat to Chesterfield on November 5, 2016, and first league start since the 2-1 defeat at Plymouth on October 29, 2016.

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