23-year-old Tom Lapslie has handed Colchester United a huge fitness boost ahead of the run in to their League Two season.
The U’s have tumbled to ninth in the table, four points shy of Exeter who also have a game in hand.
Lapslie, who has come through the ranks at Colchester, returned this weekend after a five match absence, despite not being fully fit. He was withdrawn after 66 minutes of a damaging 2-0 reverse against in-form Tranmere Rovers.
He revealed his delight at coming back, and the reasons behind him playing despite not being 100%.
“I’m happy to be back – it’s been a long time and it feels like it’s been ages,” he told the Daily Gazette.
“In an ideal world, I shouldn’t have played (against Tranmere). But these things happen and it’s a time of the season where we’ve got problems, so I pushed myself to try to give myself a chance. I managed to get through an hour but I’m nowhere near fully fit yet.”
The midfielder has 114 appearances to his name for the U’s, and hopes to be back to something akin to full fitness this weekend against Cambridge United.
“A week will do me good and hopefully I’ll be close to where I want to be against Cambridge.”
Colchester need all hands to the deck in the coming seven matches. They’ve looked good for a play-off spot all season, but recent form has not been good enough.
With one win in seven and just five points from a possible 21, they’ve gone off track with regards to a League One push. With all of the top three still to play, opportunities to pick up points are looking to be few and far between.