Colchester United winger Courtney Senior has been sidelined by injury

COURTNEY Senior has been a 'huge miss' for Colchester United after the winger's spell on the sidelines.

That is the view of boss John McGreal, who admits the U's have missed the attacker's speed and skill over recent matches.

Senior has not started for Colchester since coming on as a late substitute in their 3-1 win at Leyton Orient, on Boxing Day.

The 22-year-old has been sidelined with a groin injury and has missed the U's last four games in League Two, all of which have ended in draws.

Colchester have managed only four goals in that period and head coach McGreal admits the former Brentford youngster's absence has been detrimental.

McGreal said: “Courtney has been a pivotal player for us.

“He’s a huge miss, because he gives us speed, strength and that dynamic in that area as well.

“It’s no coincidence at times that we’ve missed him of late, especially with these draws where teams have tended to bank themselves off."

Senior has made 29 league and cup appearances for Colchester this season, scoring three times.

He has been a regular in McGreal's starting line-up in the current campaign and has made nearly 100 appearances for the U's, to date.

Colchester are hoping that Senior might be available for the gruelling upcoming schedule, where they embark on five games in the space of 14 days in League Two.

“We’re hoping that he’s not too far away," said McGreal, who is also without the likes of Cohen Bramall, Omar Sowunmi and Paris Cowan-Hall due to injury.

Meanwhile, boss McGreal has urged striker Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe to 'grab his opportunity' after he returned to first-team action with Colchester.

The former Maldon and Tiptree forward has come on as a late substitute in each of the U's last two league games, after returning from his loan spell at Derry City.

McGreal said: “Junior is approaching 26 now so he knows that the time he’s going to get at the football club might be limited of late.

“He’s in and around at the minute.

“He has to grab that opportunity because at 25 years of age, it’s taken a long time coming getting into first-team football.

“He’s had a little bit of a start, then went on loan and now he’s got another bit of a start and he has to make the most of it because we’re looking for goals."