COLCHESTER United's players begin their pre-season friendly programme in earnest today.

The U's travel to play Paul Ince's Reading side in a behind-closed-doors game at the Championship club's Bearwood Park training ground (kick-off 1pm).

It will be Wayne Brown's first chance to see his players get some match action since he was appointed head coach on a permanent basis, in May.

New signings Alex Newby, Sam Hornby and Emyr Huws are all expected to feature against the Royals.

Each U's player is expected to be given 45 minutes each in the game, as they get some valuable minutes in the tank ahead of their first game of the new League Two season, on July 30.

Brown said: “It’ll be very much a fitness exercise with the players getting minutes under their belt.

“It’s a quick turnaround but it was nice to have a break and get out of the environment and recharge.

“The lads have gone away with off season programmes and done them to a tee.

“They’ve come back and they look really good.

“They look fit, they look sharp and they’re itching to go."


Meanwhile Brown says he would ideally like to sign players on a permanent basis rather hand loanees, this summer.

Colchester benefited from the services of eight different loan players last season.

But they are yet to make any such deals this time around and while he did not rule out the possibility of bringing in temporary signings, the U's boss said budgets may mean they dip into the loan market.

Brown said: “Ideally, I’d like players to come in and be a part of the job on contracts but that’s not always possible.

“We alluded to budgets and there may come a time where we feel there’s an opportunity to take a player from another club on loan that’s going to make a real difference.

“If we do feel that, then we’ll do all we can to make it happen."