COLCHESTER United striker Kurtis Guthrie has described his long injury lay-off as "hellish".

The 24-year-old marked his first League Two start in more than ten months with a long-range stunner in Saturday's 4-1 home defeat at the hands of Cheltenham Town.

Prior to that he had managed just four substitute appearances in the league, since suffering an ankle injury in the U's 2-1 win over Hartlepool United in February 2017.

“The last ten months have been hellish – I’ve not enjoyed it at all," said Guthrie, whose only other start this season came in Colchester's Checkatrade Trophy defeat against Gillingham.

“It’s been a very humbling experience.

“I feel that had I not got injured halfway through last season, my career would probably have stepped on to greater heights - whether it was with promotion with Colchester or on a personal note.

"However, unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be.

“In any job, you want to go on and do well and if that takes me to pastures new then that’s the way it is.

“Hopefully, it can be with the team but, if not, I obviously want to play at the highest level I can play at, push on and do well in my career and have no regrets when I look back.

“The injury has brought me back down and I know I have to continue working hard to do what I can for the team and obviously help myself in the long run."

While delighted to score, Guthrie was clearly disappointed by Saturday's heavy defeat against Cheltenham.

His goal put them ahead but Kyel Reid's red card just before the break proved crucial and the Robins took full advantage in the second half, responding with goals from Sanmi Odelusi, Nigel Atangana, Jerell Sellars and Mohamed Eisa.

Guthrie insists he and his team-mates will bounce back and put the setback behind them, heading into this weekend's trip to Wycombe Wanderers.

“We did enough to control the game," said the former Welling and Forest Green man.

“But we’ve just come off the back of the festive period and most of the boys who played all of those games have not had that rest.

“The last thing you need after that is going down to ten men and although you want to raise your game, inside your body can’t physically take it.

“We’ll do well now to recover – the boys will get looked after and we’ll put it behind us."