Out-of-sorts Colchester United striker Denny Johnstone looks set for a move up to Scotland

PUBLISHED: 12:09 23 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:04 24 August 2017

Denny Johnstone, left, in action at Luton last Saturday. Picture: PAGEPIX

Denny Johnstone, left, in action at Luton last Saturday. Picture: PAGEPIX

Pagepix Ltd

Colchester United striker, Denny Johnstone, looks set to return to his native Scotland.

Out-of-sorts front-man Johnstone, who has struggled to cement a place in the U’s starting line-up since his arrival last summer, has been attracting the attention of both St Johnstone and Dundee, north of the border.

And the 22-year-old Scotsman, who was born in Dumfries and spent the 2015-16 season on loan at Greenock Morton, before his switch from Birmingham City to Colchester, could well be on his way before the end of this week.

Johnstone has only started one of the U’s first four games of this term (substituted at half-time at Accrington Stanley), despite Chris Porter’s departure for Crewe in July, and fellow front-man Kurtis Guthrie’s continued absence with an ankle injury.

Summer signing Mikael Mandron has been preferred to Johnstone up front, with Drey Wright as the other striker.

According to reports in Scotland, St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright is set to snap up Johnstone this week, before the Saints take on champions Celtic in a top-of-the-table Scottish Premiership clash this Saturday.

Only last week, Johnstone was linked with a move to Scottish rivals Dundee, so a move away from Essex looks on the cards.

If Johnstone does depart, that will leave the struggling U’s very restricted, in terms of attacking options.

Last season’s leading scorer Porter (to Crewe) and back-up striker Macauley Bonne (to Leyton Orient) have moved to pastures new, and boss John McGreal confirmed last week that Guthrie is still “some way away” from a return. Guthrie spent last week at St George’s National Football Centre, continuing his rehabilitation from his ankle injury.

He is set to return to first-team training soon, but will surely not be up to first-team speed for another few weeks.

Johnstone, meanwhile, enjoyed a good pre-season for the U’s, netting three goals and looking forward to making a big impression at the start of this season. But he has continued to struggle up top.

Johnstone began his career at Celtic, without making a league appearance, joining Birmingham in 2014. He only scored two goals in 28 league outings for the U’s last season.

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