Luke Prosser could return to Colchester United starting XI for first time in 14 months

Luke Prosser, pictured during his last league start, at Plymouth on October 29,. 2016. He could star

Luke Prosser, pictured during his last league start, at Plymouth on October 29,. 2016. He could start at Port Vale tomorrow. Picture: PAGEPIX

Luke Prosser could be in line to start his first senior game, since Bonfire Night, 2016, when Colchester United travel to the Potteries to take on Port Vale tomorrow afternoon.

Luke Prosser, right, back in action for the U's at Wycombe Wanderers two weeks ago, as a substitute,

Luke Prosser, right, back in action for the U's at Wycombe Wanderers two weeks ago, as a substitute, after a 14-month absence due to injury. Picture: PAGEPIX - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Prosser’s last start was a 2-1 home defeat to Chesterfield in the FA Cup, on November 5, 2016, while his last league start was the week before in a 2-1 defeat down at Plymouth on October 29, 2016.

Since then, the U’s club captain has struggled to overcome a knee injury which required two operations, in the autumn of 2016 and then the summer of 2017.

But Prosser finally returned to the first-team fold, as a 74th minute substitute during the 3-1 defeat at Wycombe last Saturday week, and was an unused substitute during last weekend’s 1-1 home draw against Grimsby Town.

The fact that fellow centre-half, Ryan Inniss, is unlikely to be fit for tomorrow’s test at Vale Park means that Prosser has a good chance of being selected by John McGreal, if the U’s boss opts to go with his trusty three-at-the-back formation, alongside Frankie Kent and Tom Eastman.

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It would be a big moment for Prosser, not least because the 29-year-old started out on his professional career at Port Vale.

“Of course it would be great to start this weekend, but we’ll have to wait and see,” explained Prosser, following yesterday’s training session at Florence Park, Tiptree.

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“I feel ready to start, though there is another Under-23 game coming up as well on Monday (at home to QPR), so we’ll see what the gaffer decides.

“I’ve had a couple of games for the under-23s (reserves), with one getting called off during the warm-up (at Charlton), so I’m as fit as I’m going to be with the number of games that I have played.

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“If called upon, I’d like to play, especially as I had seven years at Port Vale at the start of my career, from my youth team days.

“I don’t suppose there are many familiar faces still at the club, from those early days, but I have a few good memories of my time at Port Vale.

“I also scored a late equaliser against them,” added Prosser, with reference to a 90th minute leveller for his former club Southend in a 1-1 draw at Port Vale on April 9, 2011.

A product of Tottenham’s Academy, Prosser moved north to Port Vale to join their youth-team set-up in 2005, before signing his first professional contract with the Valiants in the summer of 2006.

He went on to play 33 league games for Port Vale, in addition to learning his trade with loan stints at Leigh RMI, Salisbury City and Kidderminster Harriers, before switching to Southend in 2010 and then Colchester six years later.

Despite the U’s current winless run, stretching to five games and featuring just three points gained from a possible 15, Prosser remains confident that the U’s can secure promotion back to the third tier.

“We were on a good run up until around Christmas time, and the end of the year,” continued Prosser.

“We’ve dipped off a little recently, but we are still up there and two wins will see us right back in the mix.

“This weekend is certainly a big game, and an important one, because we want to get back to winning ways as quickly as possible.

“It’s a big pitch at Vale Park, something that is very noticeable to the away team. I was aware of it from my youth team days there.”

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