STEVE Ball has been backed to be a success as Colchester United's head coach - by the man who was regarded as his closest rival for the job.

Wayne Brown, who was initially the bookmakers' favourite to take over from John McGreal, believes Ball will do 'very, very well' in charge of the U's.

U's promotion winner Brown led Isthmian League division north side Maldon and Tiptree to the brink of the title before the season was curtailed, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Brown, who made 160 appearances for Colchester over three spells at the club as a player and also had a stint in caretaker charge of the U's in 2016, admits he would have been interested in taking over from McGreal in the Colchester hot seat.

However, he is backing Ball to do well in his new role, ahead of the new League Two season starting on September 12.

Brown said: "I was very interested in the job but it wasn't to be and the club chose Steve Ball.

"Steve's worked very, very hard for four years especially whilst he's been in the first-team set-up.

"I'm sure he'll do very, very well."

Brown is busy preparing his Maldon and Tiptree side for the new Isthmian League season, which is due to start on September 19.

The Jammers, who have an alliance with the U's, play their first pre-season friendly of the summer this weekend when they take on Barking, at Aveley FC.

The likes of Charlee Hughes, Danny Parish and Jake Cass have departed Park Drive for pastures new, after the club agonisingly missed out on promotion, last season.

“It’s really another rebuilding exercise for us at Maldon again," said Brown.

“We haven’t got many who have come back because there’s been quite a lot of lads who have gone on to bigger and better things in the National League, which is fantastic, because of the success that they had as individuals and as a collective group.

“There are a lot of them who have got good deals at other football clubs.

“We were quite bare on numbers but we had quite a lot of trialists there.

“The Barking game is an opportunity for us to have a look at some young boys, in a game environment.

“Training sessions are great but when you’re actually taking the session, you can’t really observe.

“Games are a lot easier to do because you’re on the side and you can see things a little bit clearer.

“I'm looking forward to Saturday and seeing what the young boys can offer."