Brennan Dickenson says he feels a part of things again at Colchester United after returning to the training pitch.

The U’s player of the year has been sidelined since suffering cruciate ligament damage last April but is on the road to recovery and has resumed running and ball work, at the club’s Florence Park training ground.

Dickenson is still on course to return to action next February, as was originally estimated when he suffered the serious knee injury.

But the 24-year-old winger is making good progress and is feeling upbeat, as he targets a return to League Two action in the New Year.

Dickenson told the Daily Gazette: “I’m not directly with the boys yet but I felt a part of it again.

“The recovery is going well and I’m over the worst bit.

“I’m coming down on the good side now and the boys at the club who have done theirs have said “you’re over the worst of it now” so there’s light at the end of tunnel.

“It’s still around four months or so - but what’s four months when you’ve done more than five!

“February is still on the cards – it all depends on how I’m feeling and how my knee reacts to certain things.

“I’m just looking forward to getting on with my work and coming back and playing as many games as I can.”

Dickenson is due to see the surgeon in around four weeks’ time, when he is hoping for the green light to commence the next stage of his recovery.

“I saw the surgeon a few weeks ago and he was happy with the progress that I’d made,” said the former Gillingham winger, who scored 12 goals in his first season for Colchester.

“He said all of the ligaments were strong and he was happy for me to start doing some lateral running.

“I’ll see him again on November 27 when I’ll be hoping for another positive session with him and he’ll tell me I can really start stepping it up.

“After doing the strengthening work, I’ve been back outside now doing some ball work and some light running for a few weeks.

“The first session was a bit unusual, in that I wasn’t used to that type of running in boots.

“But it was quite nice to be back out there and put the boots on and it was a change of environment from being in the gym all the time.

Colchester lie five points off the play-off places in League Two and Dickenson is hoping he can return to help their promotion push.

He added: “I think the goal from the boys is to be in and around the play-off spots.

“We’re not far off it now so I’m just going to come back, give 110 per cent, do what I can for the team and the club and hopefully we either get into the play-offs or we go straight up.”

Colchester's under-18s are in FA Youth Cup action tonight.

They host Cheshunt in the first round of the competition at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, kick-off 7pm.