JOHN Akinde is aiming to return for Colchester United and give them a timely boost against former club Crawley Town.

The 34-year-old striker has been out for two and a half months with a foot injury.

It has been a frustrating spell on the sidelines for Akinde, who had looked sharp in the early part of the season.

But he is now back in the fray and having got some game time under his belt in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy defeat to West Ham United under-21s in midweek, the experienced forward is keen for more match action this weekend.

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Akinde said: “It’s really good to be back.

“I think it was the longest injury I’ve had in my career.

“It’s been a very long time and I’m just happy to be out there again.

“It was an awkward injury, I’ve been told, hard to get rid of in terms of treatment.

“It just required rest and management.

“It’s probably something that happened over time, that I tried to manage over the early part of pre-season.

“But then it just got to a point where it was unbearable.

Gazette: John Akinde

“Every time I was trying to run, it was causing me problems and affecting my game, which is not what I want.

“Hopefully, it’s all sorted now.

“I want to be involved and it’s a frustrating one, on my part.

“I just want to help the boys in any way I can.

“I feel like I’ve still got a lot to give, in terms of playing.”

Akinde has now played under four permanent head coaches at Colchester since joining them from Gillingham in January, 2022.

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Matty Etherington is the latest man in the U’s hot seat and Akinde says the club’s players will dig deep as a team, to get results.

“I don’t think any club wants to change the manager but for whatever reason, these things happen,” said Akinde.

“It’s just trying to find the right formula, the right balance, the right way forward together as a group.

“Whoever the manager is in the building, we try and implement whatever it is he wants to install, on the pitch and training pitch and give our all.

“We know that we need to win games, score goals and keep clean sheets - we know all of that stuff.

Gazette: John Akinde

“It’s just about trying to do it and digging deep as a team, as a club and try and get through the tough times.

“He (Matty Etherington) been really good, very open with the boys, very clear with what he wants us to do and how he wants to implement it.

“As players, we talk about the game and what we feel went wrong, how we could possibly have done things better as a team and as individuals as well.

“I think every players knows when they have done well or not.

“It’s definitely part of the game, talking amongst ourselves as players.”

READ MORE: Five observations from Colchester defeat to West Ham under-21s

Akinde is set to face his former club when Colchester host Crawley, this weekend.

The forward spent 18 months at the Reds between 2011 and 2013, helping them win promotion from League Two in 2012.

He added: “I had a positive time at Crawley.

“We got promoted there so that was a fond memory.”