Tom Lapslie insists that Colchester United have the strength in depth to cope with injury woes

Tom Lapslie, right, is quick to congratulate George Elokobi on scoring what proved to be the winner

Tom Lapslie, right, is quick to congratulate George Elokobi on scoring what proved to be the winner against Wycombe on Tuesday night. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Tom Lapslie has no time for the argument that Colchester United’s promotion hopes are being hit by the injury crisis that is currently blighting the Essex club.

The U’s tenacious midfielder prefers to gloss over all the injuries, believing that John McGreal’s squad is strong enough to cement a top-seven berth this season.

Fresh from a midweek 1-0 home win over play-off rivals Wycombe Wanderers, the U’s will be bidding to make it back-to-back home victories against struggling Hartlepool United this afternoon.

“I don’t use the injuries as an excuse,” insisted Lapslie.

“I don’t put blame them, because we have such a strong squad this season. We all win and lose together as a squad, not just as an XI. It’s a squad game these days, and we do have strength in depth.

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“In fact, the squad is certainly the strongest that’s it’s ever been since I’ve been at the club. We have got the numbers, and we have got the bodies.”

Lapslie has been with the U’s since the age of 16, joining the Academy structure at Florence Park, Tiptree, in 2012, after playing Sunday League football with Ongar Juniors.

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Now 21, Lapslie is enjoying the best season of his still fledgling professional career.

Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Wycombe was his 24th league appearance of the campaign, and the 45th league game of his career – he has already played more games this season than in his two previous campaigns, and there are still 14 fixtures remaining.

Striker Denny Johnstone and centre-halves Frankie Kent and Luke Prosser have been ruled out for the season, while the likes of Tom Eastman, Lewis Kinsella, Sammie Szmodics, Lloyd Doyley, Doug Loft, Jermaine Grandison and Tommy O’Sullivan remain on the sidelines.

Lapslie’s fellow midfielder, Craig Slater, has also been dogged by a groin problem in recent weeks.

But that does not deter Lapslie, especially with boost of recent signing Sean Murray’s return to the midfield against Wycombe.

“Sean is a very good footballer, and he brings a lot of energy to the team. It was unfortunate what happened to him at Blackpool (sent off), but he’s making up for it,” said Lapslie.

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