STEVE Ball insists he is happy to see his Colchester United show their aggressive side – providing it is channelled in the right way.

The U’s have a strong reputation for playing attractive football but showed a different side to their game in midweek, after battling their way to a 1-0 win over Forest Green Rovers.

Colchester have picked up 21 yellow cards in their opening seven League Two matches, level with Leyton Orient for the highest number of bookings in the division to date.

Ball says he wants to avoid cautions and suspensions but is happy to see his side flex their muscles, as long as it is in a controlled way.

Ball said: “I want a committed group.

“Training has been through the roof on that side of it and we’ve got a really nice mix at the club, with youth and experience.

“Believe me, they get at each other in training and there’s a daily evidence of that!

“But it’s always controlled and if you manage that in the right way and have that in your team, it’s needed especially in the winter months kick in when the pitches go a bit the other way to have that aggression in your team as long as it’s channelled.

“Obviously I don’t want players to get silly bookings and silly suspensions.

“That’s something that we do stamp down on but I’m not going to stop players making tackles.

“I certainly don’t encourage players to get yellow cards.

“I don’t criticise referees but I think there’s been a few indifferent decisions, along the way."

Ball is delighted with the commitment levels of his players, as they aim to chalk up back-to-back wins against Harrogate tomorrow.

The U’s boss revealed that his players were keen to get back out on the training ground following their win over Forest Green.

“Two days after a game, there’s always a second day of recovery,” said Ball.

“But players were chomping to train (on Thursday) so I let a couple of them train and join in, with a different group.

“That’s pleasing to see, that players are that hungry to keep on training and we managed the ones who needed to come off it a bit.

“As far as the tackling goes, our aggression against Forest Green was possibly at times a little bit over the top but I’d rather it like that than the other way, as long as it’s controlled.

“I do want us to add that to our game because while we have got the players to show quality on the ball, if we can add that steel to our game as well it’ll be really positive.

“We did a whole presentation on our compactness against Forest Green and at the very end I said we’re even getting players now who do their own players!

“I showed Harry (Pell) crunch Callum (Harriott) and it brought a laugh to the team.

“It was an accident but it did cause a laugh.”