Sammie Szmodics is pushing for a starting place for Colchester United in tonight’s Carabao Cup tie against Aston Villa - and the attacker says it is a game to look forward to.

The 21-year-old came off the bench to score the U’s consolation in their 3-1 defeat at Accrington Stanley in their League Two curtain-raiser, last Saturday.

Szmodics was praised by Colchester head coach John McGreal in the aftermath of the disappointing loss at the Wham Stadium and says his side’s first-round tie against their Championship opponents in front of the live TV cameras at the Weston Homes Community Stadium (kick-off 7.45pm) is one to relish.

He said: “It’s one to look forward to and we’ve got big hitters coming down in Aston Villa.

“We’ve got the Sky cameras coming down and John Terry has just signed for them, so it’ll be a good test for us.”

Colchester’s new loan signing Kyel Reid is also hoping to feature against Villa tonight, after signing on loan from their League Two rivals, Coventry City.

Reid signed for the U’s on a six-month loan deal on Monday and did not feature in their 3-1 loss at Accrington.

However, the former West Ham United youngster says they are determined to produce an improved performance against Villa.

He said: “I know that they felt they didn’t play to their potential at Accrington.

“They did have quite a few chances to get a foothold in the game.

“It’s the first game of the season and will be looking to put in a good performance against Aston Villa.

“League Two is a tough league and it’s not always the prettiest.

“It’s about the teams that are most determined and those that are good at grinding out results.

“It’s about climbing up the table and there are some big teams in this division.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge and if that starts with Aston Villa, then that’ll be great.”

Colchester will check on the fitness of defender Tom Eastman prior to the Villa game.

The former Ipswich Town youngster limped out of the Accrington defeat with an ankle injury and is being assessed.

Kurtis Guthrie, Luke Prosser and Brennan Dickenson all remain sidelined for the U’s.