COLCHESTER United boss Steve Ball admits his players are chomping at the bit to return to action today.

The U’s are set to play their long-awaited first game of 2021 when they host Cambridge United at the JobServe Community Stadium, this afternoon (kick-off 3pm).

Colchester have experienced an enforced three-week break from action in League Two, following the postponement of their games against Salford City and Tranmere Rovers.

But they are ready to resume their campaign against Cambridge and head coach Ball says they can’t wait to get going.

Ball said: “We just want to go out and play again.

“It’s felt a little bit weird actually – it’s been a bit stop-start, especially turning up to the Tranmere game and then being fully prepped for the Salford game last weekend and ready to travel last Friday and then that being called off quite late.

“It’s great in that we’ve had lots of chances to coach which is positive but it’s just about the games now for us.

“We just want to get back out there, weather permitting, on Saturday.

“We need a game now - it's three weeks since our last game.

“A two-week break is great; three weeks starts to stretch it a little bit.

“It’s been good in that it’s got the boys back fit – everyone is more or less fit which is a real positive.

“But it’s about getting back into that groove, coming off the back of a good point against Cheltenham.

“We wanted to kick on from there and that feels like quite a long time ago.

“We’re at home where our form is really good.”

Colchester have recent experience of playing Cambridge, having lost 2-1 to their opponents at the Abbey Stadium last month.

U’s boss Ball watched the third-placed side beat Harrogate last weekend and knows it will be a tough game.

“It feels as though it’s almost like a two-legged game really, after we played them a few weeks ago,” said Ball.

“I watched Cambridge last week and the big difference in their style of play was when (Wes) Hoolahan plays.

“He’s one of the best players in the division and obviously his quality will tell you that.

“He’s at the other end of 30 now and you might think he maybe isn’t as fit as he was but what a good player he is.

“I watched him score and get an assist (against Harrogate) and he’ll have to be stopped.

“Credit to them – they’ve done well and they’ve got a style of play and they’re up there.

“But given the stop-start nature of how it’s been of late and the number of games in hand teams have, I don’t think we’ll see a true reflection of the table until that settles down.”

Skipper Harry Pell is set to be named in Colchester’s squad for the game with Cambridge, after recovering from a knee injury.

“Harry is back now and training at full pace,” added Ball.

“We had a 11v11 last Saturday which was good for Harry to play in.

“He’s fit and he’s ready to go.”

Colchester are hoping Callum Harriott, Cohen Bramall and Tom Eastman will also be fit to feature today, following their respective injuries.