COLCHESTER United midfielder Harry Pell insists they have had to put any thoughts of their big quarter-final at Manchester United to one side as they hunt for League Two points.

The U’s are counting down to their hugely-anticipated Carabao Cup trip to Old Trafford, on December 18.

But before they take on the Premier League giants at Old Trafford, they take on Scunthorpe United this weekend.

And midfielder Pell admits they have had to ensure their focus is on picking up points to boost their promotion challenge.

Pell said: “The Manchester United game has been put aside a little bit, because we have a massive game coming up.

“The gaffer and Bally (Steve Ball) have emphasised that throughout the squad as soon as that was parked and we’ve moved onto the league and rightly so.

“I think for the younger players especially and some of the older players too it will be in their mind and it’ll be a great occasion for the club.

“But the league is most definitely the priority that we need to concentrate on.”

Pell has had to battle for his place in Colchester’s starting line-up after returning from injury, last month.

The 28-year-old spent the first three months of the campaign on the sidelines following a troublesome Achilles injury but returned to first-team action, last month.

Pell completed his first 90 minutes of the season last weekend, scoring the U's winner in their 1-0 win over Salford City.

The midfielder admits that competition for places is fierce within the U’s squad and they are embracing the challenge of fighting for a place in John McGreal’s side.

“It is a little bit dog eat dog but at the same time, we’re a team and we all want to get to that same level,” said the former Cheltenham Town favourite.

“It’s really important that there is that competition for places and the boys are really embracing it and taking it on.

“I’ve had to learn now at the age of 28 that you need to be able to look in the mirror and be honest with yourself.

“If you genuinely feel that you should be in the squad and have a starting XI place, then more often than not you will be where you should be.

“Players can’t get deluded and you have to brush egos aside.”

“If you’re doing your job as a player and for the team, I’m sure it’ll pay off from there."