MICHAEL Fernandes says being part of Colchester United’s first-team squad is a big learning curve for him.

The 20-year-old attacker has been on the bench for three of the U’s last four matches in League Two, having been impressing for the club’s under-23 side, in Professional Development League Two.

Fernandes featured heavily for Colchester in pre-season but is yet to make his senior debut for them since arriving last summer from Farnborough Town.

But he is now pushing hard for his U’s first-team bow and the skilful winger says he is enjoying being a part of the senior set-up again.

Fernandes said: “It’s about learning and now I’m back training with them, that’s happening more and more.

“A lot of the players here have been here for such a long time.

“I’ve been listening to them in the changing room and picking up habits that I probably haven’t picked up yet, so it’s all an education.

“You learn just coming to the games, even if I don’t get on the pitch.

“The gaffer (John McGreal) is turning around and saying to the bench what needs to be done at certain times and it’s all about watching and taking it all in.

“The team are in a good position in the league so hopefully we can get back to our winning ways and turns those draws into wins.”

Fernandes bagged his first-ever professional contract when he signed for Colchester on a two-year deal, last summer.

He started out with the Middlesex-based Conquest Football Academy, before moving to Southern League side Farnborough in early 2018.

Fernandes has impressed for the U’s under-23 side and is their leading scorer, having scored six times for Richard Hall’s side this season.

“It’s nice to be back involved again,” added Fernandes, who had trials with Ipswich Town and Reading prior to signing for Colchester, last year.

“I feel like I’ve been doing well in the under-23s.

“The gaffer has shown that he’s been watching and has been rewarded me by putting me back in the squad.

“I’m waiting for my chance – hopefully I’ll get it soon and not look back.

“It’s about taking my opportunity with both hands and I just have to be patient.”