COLCHESTER United’s youngsters are reaping the benefits of working under former Premier League star Hayden Mullins.

That’s the view of club captain Harry Pell, who believes the former West Ham United and Crystal Palace midfielder is having a positive impact at Florence Park.

Mullins took over as Colchester’s assistant manager in September, having been in temporary charge of Watford for the final two games of their 2019-20 Premier League campaign against Arsenal and Manchester City.

The 41-year-old made nearly 700 career appearances as a player and fellow midfielder Pell says the club’s players are benefiting from Mullins’ experience and knowledge.

Pell said: “The information that Hayden gives is good information.

“He doesn’t ever talk for the sake of talking so when he talks you do tend to listen.

“He puts in his little bit here and little bit there on the training ground; he’ll pull a player to the side every now and again.

“Someone with his experience, it’s really hard not to grab it with both hands and take it on board.

“As we all know, we’ve got a young squad here.

“We’ve got young players and they most definitely should be picking his brains, as I do.”

Pell has not featured for Colchester since November after picking up a knee injury, in training.

The U’s club captain admits it has been frustrating not to be in and around the rest of the squad on matchdays during his time out but is glad to be back, after returning to full training.

“It’s been really difficult, as we’re not allowed to go to away games so I’ve played no part in that and then home games, they try and keep it as strict as possible,” said the former Cheltenham Town favourite.

“The feel of it is so different but I’m so happy to be back on the training pitch.

“It’s like a breath of fresh air.

“I’ve been able to put myself forward and say ‘if you need me at whatever point, I’ll be there’.

Colchester are 12th in League Two and five points off the play-off places, following the postponement of their game at Salford City due to a frozen pitch.

The U’s have gone five games without a win but Pell insists the squad remains upbeat.

Pell added: “I still feel that confidence is high in the group.

“The boys are flying and buzzing about the place but winning games brings that extra something.

“We’ve been able to spend a bit more time on the training pitch.

“It was so relentless Saturday-Tuesday, bang, bang, bang.

“There’s not been much time to spend some quality hours on the training pitch but now I feel like we’ve done that – we’ve done a lot of 11v11 practice games.”