New-look U’s all set for opener at Maldon

PUBLISHED: 06:00 06 July 2018

Sammie Szmodics, in action for the U's during last season's pre-season friendly at Maldon & Tiptree. Szmodics ended up being the U's top scorer last season. Picture: RICHARD BLAXALL

Sammie Szmodics, in action for the U's during last season's pre-season friendly at Maldon & Tiptree. Szmodics ended up being the U's top scorer last season. Picture: RICHARD BLAXALL

2017 Colchester United Football Club

Colchester United kick-off their pre-season campaign with a short trip to Maldon & Tiptree, their regular opening-day opponents of recent summers, tomorrow afternoon (revised kick-off of 1pm).

Tom Lapslie on the attack during the U's friendly at Maldon & Tiptree last summer. Picture: RICHARD BLAXALLTom Lapslie on the attack during the U's friendly at Maldon & Tiptree last summer. Picture: RICHARD BLAXALL

There has been a good deal of activity in the transfer market during the close season, with plenty of comings and goings at the newly-named Jobserve Community Stadium.

Most of these new arrivals are due to feature at Park Drive tomorrow, with manager John McGreal set to give most of his first-team squad members 45 minutes of action.

That was the case last season, when goals from midfielders Doug Loft and Louis Dunne secured the U’s a 2-0 win at their Bostik League North hosts.

Unfortunately, Loft ended up having another season ruined by injury, and has since been released, while Dunne suffered a long-term injury later that summer, which ruled him out for the season.

The three most high-profile signings of the summer have been midfielder Harry Pell, plus strikers Frank Nouble and Luke Norris.

Pell arrived on a three-year deal from Cheltenham Town, as early as May 10, after signing for an undisclosed six-figure fee. The 26-year-old should add power and strength to the central midfield.

Ex-Ipswich Town front-runner Nouble was snapped up on a two-year deal, following a good season at Newport County, and fellow striker Norris was a more recent recruit from Swindon Town, on a three-year contract.

Other new faces include two keepers, in ex-West Brom trainee Ethan Ross and former Brighton custodian Bailey Vose, defender Noah Chesmain (ex-Millwall) and young striker Aaron Collins.

After tomorrow’s test, the League Two U’s have pre-season friendlies at newly-promoted Braintree Town (now back in the National League) on Tuesday, July 10 (7.45pm), before a mini-training camp in North Wales ends with a fixture at Colwyn Bay on Friday, July 13 (kick-off 7pm).

There are two more trips planned for the following week, away at National League club Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday, July 17 (7.30pm), and then at Dartford on Saturday, July 21 (3pm).

The U’s one-and-only home friendly is against Championship outfit Millwall on Tuesday, July 24 (7.45pm).

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