Colchester United’s squad is ‘stronger than it has ever been,’ under manager John McGreal

Recent signing Tommy OSullivan, left, warming up with assistance from Denny Johnstone before the U

Recent signing Tommy OSullivan, left, warming up with assistance from Denny Johnstone before the U's last game at Exeter - Credit: Richard Blaxall / Colchester Uni

Colchester United boss, John McGreal, believes that his squad is stronger now than it ever has been, since he took over the managerial reins at the end of last season.

Colchester United boss, John McGreal, believes that his squad is stronger now than it ever has been, since he took over the managerial reins at the end of last season.

The U’s are well-placed in ninth spot, just three points adrift of the play-offs, going into the final three months of the campaign.

And McGreal has enjoyed a number of further boosts, during the last few weeks, both in terms of new acquisitions, and also the return of some old faces.

The transfer window closed, on Tuesday evening, by which time the U’s boss had bolstered his squad with five new recruits during the course of January.

The Cardiff City duo of Tommy O’Sullivan and Eli Phipps, plus experienced keeper Dean Brill, young striker Rekeil Pyke (on loan from Huddersfield) and midfielder Sean Murray (from Swindon) have all been added to the squad.

Murray looks set to make a quickfire U’s debut, at Blackpool tomorrow, while ex-Luton and Inverness custodian Brill should be on the bench as back-up to Sam Walker.

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Midfielder O’Sullivan was an unused substitute at Exeter, a 3-0 defeat in the Us last outing two weeks ago, while 19-year-old Pyke will also be pushing for a substitute’s berth in the weeks to come.

Meanwhile, the U’s squad has been further bolstered by the return of several long-term injury victims, including left-back Matt Briggs (hip injury) and midfielder Doug Loft (Achilles problem).

“The squad is possibly the strongest it’s been this season,” confirmed McGreal.

“And that’s especially with all the injured players coming back into the fold.

“In terms of transfers, all my targets were reached, more or less. (Chairman) Robbie (Cowling), (player recruitment) Iain (Moody) and Tony (Humes) have done terrifically well to get the bodies that we had identified.

“That goes for the likes of Tarique Fosu (extended loan stay from Reading) and Tommy O’Sullivan (from Cardiff) from earlier on in the window, before coming away with the likes of Sean (Murray), Dean (Brill) and Rekeil (Pyke) at the end, It’s been great business for us.

“What we had identified, we have more or less come away with, which I’m delighted with,” added McGreal.

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