Colchester United striker Denny Johnstone is embracing the No. 9 role

Denny Johnstone, left, celebrates with Frankie Kent after scoring the U's second goal in Tuesday nig

Denny Johnstone, left, celebrates with Frankie Kent after scoring the U's second goal in Tuesday night's 2-0 win over a West Ham XI. Picture: STEVE WALLERt. - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Denny Johnstone is blessed with the “feel-good factor” at the moment, not just because he is scoring goals, but also because he is proudly wearing the No. 9 shirt.

Centre forward Johnstone, who managed just two goals throughout his first season with Colchester United last term, while wearing the No. 17 shirt, has taken over the No. 9 position vacated by fellow striker Chris Porter (now at Crewe).

And the 22-year-old Scotsman has responded by scoring three goals in pre-season, finding the target in each of the U’s last three pre-season friendlies at Needham Market, Welsh club Llandudno and most recently a West Ham XI.

Johnstone headed home the winner in a 1-0 success at Llandudno last Friday night, and he buried a close-range header from Craig Slater’s free-kick in Tuesday night’s 2-0 home victory over the Hammers, who were mostly comprised under-23s..

“Number nine is a number that I like,” enthused Johnstone, who was signed from Birmingham City last summer.

“The season before I came here (at Scottish Championship club Greenock Morton), I wore the No. 9, and I got a few goals that season (17 in 43 games), so it’s a bit of a feel-good factor.

“Naturally I’m delighted to get that No. 9 shirt.

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“Hopefully, the injuries are behind me. I took it easy for the first couple of days, but I’ve got a lot of minutes in my legs since then.”

- Match report of Colchester United’s win over West HamJohnstone missed a first-half sitter against the young Hammers, but he did not let that prey on his mind.

“I think that’s one of the most important things as a striker, when he misses a chance as bad as the one I missed – and I hope that I don’t miss one as bad as that again!” insisted Johnstone,

“You just need to get it out of your mind as quickly as possible, because I knew we would get opportunities again because the boys were playing very well, and all I had to do was to keep putting myself in the right areas.

“It all bodes well for the new season, definitely.

“We’ve got some good pre-season games coming up as well next week (Ipswich Town on Tuesday evening, and Gillingham on Friday week), so hopefully I can add to that tally and then start scoring goals again in the league,” concluded Johnstone.

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