Mikael Mandron has the potential to be a big asset for Colchester United
- Credit: Richard Blaxall / Pagepix
The boots left by Chris Porter will be big ones to fill this season, but Mikael Mandron showed glimpses during Saturday’s disappointing 3-1 defeat at Accrington Stanley that he can make the grade as a League Two striker.
Porter marked his debut for his new club Crewe Alexandra by scoring a brace of goals, both archetype headers from the experienced 33-year-old marksman, in the Railwaymen’s 2-2 home draw against Mansfield Town.
The U’s have moved on since Porter’s summer departure – he chose to return up north, closer to his family roots, having accepted a two-year deal at Gresty Road this summer – with Mandron arriving from Wigan Athletic.
The Frenchman is still a very raw talent, but he did not look out of place at Accrington, keeping the home defence on their toes, and drawing praise from his boss John McGreal.
“Mikael is going to be a quality player, when you look at where he has been,” explained McGreal.
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“We’ve been beaten today (Saturday) but there were one or two performances to be very positive about, Mikael was one of those players.
“I think he showed what the club has got, the fans as well. He’s had an assist with his first game, with Sammie (Szmodics) putting it in, so it’s a good start.”
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Mandron was on the books of Wigan for the second half of last season, although he began the campaign by plundering 15 goals in 33 outings for National League side Eastleigh.
The 22-year-old ex-Sunderland trainee obviously has to step up a level this term, but he should improve game-by-game, and the U’s also have the bonus of fellow striker Kurtis Guthrie returning from long-term injury soon.
That partnership could potentially make up for the loss of Porter (leading scorer with 16 goals last season), with Denny Johnstone also hoping to improve on a rather out-of-sorts showing at Accrington.
“I thought little bits worked with Mikael and Denny, in the first half,” said McGreal.
“Mikeal’s performance overall, against a couple of brutal lads, was one of our better ones. I thought he handled himself and put himself about quite well. He looked very keen to get his shots away, so I was pleased with him.”
The U’s entertain Aston Villa in a League Cup first round tie tomorrow night.