Colchester United head coach John McGreal admits they will have to manage Doug Loft's game time after the midfielder was left on the bench for their 0-0 draw with Morecambe.

Loft was an unused substitute in the U's goal-less draw at the Weston Homes Community Stadium having previously missed only two league games for his side in the last two months, with Tom Lapslie and Brandon Comley starting in central midfield.

After sitting out almost the whole of last season due to injury, the 30-year-old midfielder has already started half of Colchester's games, in the current League Two campaign.

But Loft is still not 100 per cent fit because of a calf injury and ahead of the U's clash with Lincoln City tomorrow night, boss McGreal says they have to be wary of pushing the former Port Vale and Gillingham man too hard.

McGreal said: “Lofty has been nursing a calf injury and hadn’t trained for the majority of the week.

“We’re only 18 games in and he lost a lot of football last year through pushing himself when he possibly might not have at times and broken down.

“I think it’s one where we have to manage what he can do but also, there are boys who are knocking on my door who want to play football."

The closest Colchester came to scoring against Morecambe was when substitute Drey Wright hit the crossbar with a long-range effort late on.

The U’s felt they should have had a penalty when Shrimps defender Aaron McGowan appeared to handle the ball in the area immediately afterwards, only for referee Lee Collins to dismiss the claims.

“We don’t tend to get penalties,” said McGreal.

“When he didn’t do it, I wasn’t really surprised to be honest.

“We missed a penalty against Aston Villa but prior to that, I’m struggling to remember the last time we got one even though there have been tons of incidents in that top area.”

Colchester’s under-23s are in action this afternoon, in Professional Development League Two.

Wayne Brown’s side travel to play Crystal Palace at the Eagles' training ground, kick-off 1pm.