New-look U’s all set for opener at Maldon
- Credit: Richard Blaxall / Colchester Uni
Colchester United kick-off their pre-season campaign with a short trip to Maldon & Tiptree, their regular opening-day opponents of recent summers, tomorrow afternoon (revised kick-off of 1pm).
There has been a good deal of activity in the transfer market during the close season, with plenty of comings and goings at the newly-named Jobserve Community Stadium.
Most of these new arrivals are due to feature at Park Drive tomorrow, with manager John McGreal set to give most of his first-team squad members 45 minutes of action.
That was the case last season, when goals from midfielders Doug Loft and Louis Dunne secured the U’s a 2-0 win at their Bostik League North hosts.
Unfortunately, Loft ended up having another season ruined by injury, and has since been released, while Dunne suffered a long-term injury later that summer, which ruled him out for the season.
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The three most high-profile signings of the summer have been midfielder Harry Pell, plus strikers Frank Nouble and Luke Norris.
Pell arrived on a three-year deal from Cheltenham Town, as early as May 10, after signing for an undisclosed six-figure fee. The 26-year-old should add power and strength to the central midfield.
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Ex-Ipswich Town front-runner Nouble was snapped up on a two-year deal, following a good season at Newport County, and fellow striker Norris was a more recent recruit from Swindon Town, on a three-year contract.
Other new faces include two keepers, in ex-West Brom trainee Ethan Ross and former Brighton custodian Bailey Vose, defender Noah Chesmain (ex-Millwall) and young striker Aaron Collins.
After tomorrow’s test, the League Two U’s have pre-season friendlies at newly-promoted Braintree Town (now back in the National League) on Tuesday, July 10 (7.45pm), before a mini-training camp in North Wales ends with a fixture at Colwyn Bay on Friday, July 13 (kick-off 7pm).
There are two more trips planned for the following week, away at National League club Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday, July 17 (7.30pm), and then at Dartford on Saturday, July 21 (3pm).
The U’s one-and-only home friendly is against Championship outfit Millwall on Tuesday, July 24 (7.45pm).