Norris or Mandron - who will play up top for U's at Carlisle?
PUBLISHED: 06:07 12 December 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
The return of Luke Norris, after injury, has given Colchester United boss John McGreal a pleasant selection headache looking towards this weekend's long trek up to Cumbria.
Marksman Norris was expected to be out of action until the turn of the year, after being stretchered off with an ankle injury during the 1-0 home win over Swindon Town, at the start of last month.
But instead of being sidelined for two months or more, Norris has recovered in super-quick time and was able to make a quicker-than-anticipated return as a 76th minute substitute during last Saturday’s 1-0 home win over Macclesfield.
The 25-year-old will obviously be pushing for a start, at Carlisle United on Saturday, but his replacement Mikael Mandron fired home the winner against the Silkmen to cap a fine individual performance and so will be difficult to dislodge.
It would certainly be harsh on Mandron, if we were to be relegated to the bench at Brunton Park.
“Luke coming back is brilliant,” enthused McGreal.
“He was back training with us during the (last) week, and we were thinking about the under-23s on the Monday.
“We were a little bit wary of him, but we said to him – ‘are you ready to go?’ – and he said ‘yes.’
“Luke’s beaten all the records coming back. It’s a terrific recovery for him, and it gives us that extra competition in that forward area.
“Mikael (Mandron) stepped up to the plate, knowing that Luke was on the bench.
“There’s never any moaning from Mikael, He’s the first one out in training in the morning, and the last one off.
“He’s infectious, always smiling, win, lose or draw. He’s a very popular lad,” added McGreal.
Mandron’s 29th minute winner against Sol Campbell’s Macclesfield Town was his first goal of the season, in his 17th league appearance, although all but three of these outings have been as a substitute.
The Frenchman forms a good understanding with Sammie Szmodics, and he certainly helped the U’s No. 10 to boost his goal-tally to eight for the season last month, while in the process cementing the U’s third position in League Two.
But Norris, who banged home eight goals in 17 appearances (in all competitions) before his recent injury woes, is McGreal’s likely No. 1 striker going forward, although he might again start from the bench at Carlisle this weekend.