Colchester United wide man Brennan Dickenson is targeting his first start of the season after continuing his comeback from a long-term injury lay-off.

Dickenson, who celebrates his 25th birthday today, has appeared as a substitute in each of the U's last three matches.

Last season's Colchester Player of the Year is back after more than nine months on the sidelines with a serious knee injury, suffered last April and featured as a half-time substitute in their 1-0 defeat to Barnet, last weekend.

Dickenson said: “Minutes for me are everything I need, so to play 45 minutes was a positive.

“I hope that first start of the season is around the corner for me soon.

“It’s difficult coming off the bench but you just have to try and do what you do and come on and try and affect the game.”

Dickenson admits Colchester must pick themselves up quickly following their disappointing home defeat at the hands of relegation-haunted Barnet.

But the wide man insists the League Two play-offs are still a target for the U’s, despite back-to-back defeats leaving them seven points adrift of the top seven.

Colchester face a tough task to earn promotion this season with 11 games remaining, after Alex Nicholls’ second-half strike won the game for the Bees.

Dickenson came on as a half-time substitute for Tom Eastman against Barnet – and admits they must put things right quickly.

“It was a very disappointing afternoon for everyone but we have to pick ourselves back up and go again,” said Dickenson.

“The conditions didn’t help but if things aren’t going our way, we need to adapt on the pitch and try and put it right.

“I don’t think Barnet deserved the win – I think we deserved more from the game.

“Looking back at the stats, I don’t think there was much between the two teams but they got the win in the end.

“We’re a bit down but we have to stay positive, pick ourselves back up and move on.

“We’ll fight for 11 games and we have to try and go to Morecambe on Saturday and try and win.

“We have to try and win every game until the end of the season and that’s the mentality that we have to try and have.

“I definitely think the play-offs are still within our reach.

“We’ve got to still believe that we can do that if not higher, depending on results.

“We have to stay positive – our task has been made slightly more difficult but we have to fight for every single result and I think we have the squad to do that.”

Colchester’s players were in the changing room for more than 45 minutes after the final whistle against Barnet, following a sub-standard display.

“It was a constructive discussion in the changing room,” added Dickenson.