Despite Lady Luck delivering yet another shattering injury blow to his team and their promotion hopes, Colchester United head coach John McGreal is urging them to “keep going through the hits”.

The latest setback for the U’s came in a 2-0 League Two loss at Crewe Alexandra and saw midfielder Sammie Szmodics stretchered away with what turned out to be a broken leg.

The 21-year-old had only just returned from surgery on his ankle and quickly rejoined a lengthy injury list that is playing havoc with McGreal’s attempts to engineer a move back into League One.

Losing Szmodics once again is a bitter blow, but U’s boss McGreal insists they cannot sit back and feel sorry for themselves as they prepare to bounce back against Luton Town at home on Saturday.

He said: “It goes without saying that it’s another blow as we have seven or eight key first-team players out.

“It is one of those situations where you just have to keep going through the hits.

“There’s no end at the moment with the hits “Sammie went straight to hospital to get an x-ray, so no sooner than we’d got him back fit and something’s happened to him.

“It just hindered us in the game with losing him.

“It was frustrating to come away from it with nothing, especially after the second-half performance that we had.

“With the injury as well, it was frustrating to come away with nothing.”

The defeat at Crewe kept Colchester’s poor run of results away from home going.

Despite boasting an excellent home record, they have not won on their travels so far in seven attempts in 2017.

McGreal admitted his team made a poor start to the game against the Railwaymen, but he preferred to focus on their performance in the second half.

It was a much-improved display and while the goal breakthrough just wouldn’t come, McGreal felt there were positives to take.

He added: “We can keep going on about away performances, but it’s another one where we have had a good performance and not come away with anything.

“You can look at it in two ways, but I’ll look at it by taking the positives out of it.

“I think we can take a lot out of that second half.

“We should have scored goals and we didn’t, but we have to take that into next week (against Luton at home).”