‘It’s good to be hitting the net’ – Colchester United hot shot Freddie Sears

Dominic Vose, who scored a brace for Colchester United in an exciting 4-3 win at Dagenham & Redbridg

Dominic Vose, who scored a brace for Colchester United in an exciting 4-3 win at Dagenham & Redbridge this afternoon - Credit: Su Anderson

If Freddie Sears can stay fit, then Colchester United look on course for a good season in League One.

A red-hot Sears helped himself to four second-half goals to inflict an 8-1 defeat on Suffolk hosts Leiston in Saturday’s latest pre-season friendly.

Sears was in devastating form, showing his superb finishing skills to rattle up a quickfire hat-trick, before also adding a late penalty in the Victory Road sunshine.

Earlier, goals from Dan Holman, Gavin Massey and Sammie Szmodics had swept the U’s into a 3-0 half-time lead, before one from Drey Wright and four-of-the-best from Sears wrapped up another big win for Joe Dunne’s men.

The U’s have already scored 24 goals in four pre-season games, albeit against non-league opposition.

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And Sears has bagged eight of these – a penalty in a 4-1 win at Brantham, a brace in an 8-0 victory at Heybridge, another goal in a 4-1 win at AFC Sudbury, and then four on Saturday.

“It’s good to be hitting the net, but the most important thing is getting the fitness at the moment,” insisted Sears, following his four-goal haul at Leiston.

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“The goals obviously give you good confidence, and it’s nice to see the whole team scoring a lot of goals, even though the opposition is not as good as what we will be playing against during the season.

“Playing in these sort of matches is always different to training. It’s a proper match, so when you get the chances, you have got to take them.

“The goals have been flying in for me, and the team, which is a great feeling.

“But getting match sharpness remains the priority, and I think we are ready to push on to the next step.

“This coming week will be a real step up in class, with the games against Southend, Ipswich, Dover and Dagenham. These four games will be a good test for us, to see where we are.

“We will be tested more defensively in these games. The teams will be more of a threat, but we are all ready for it,” added Sears, who was the U’s leading scorer with 13 goals last season.

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