Craig Eastmond is winning his race to be fit for the start of the new League One season.

The Colchester United midfielder played the opening half hour of their 3-0 defeat against Ipswich Town and completed 45 minutes of their 1-0 win at Histon, on Wednesday night.

Eastmond, who is set to play for the U's again this weekend against either Maldon and Tiptree or Needham Market, has been on the road to recovery after injuring his ankle in the U’s pre-season friendly win at Heybridge Swifts.

The 22-year-old, who signed for Colchester earlier this summer following his release from Arsenal, was due to feature again for the U’s in their pre-season friendly at Histon, last night.

And U’s boss Joe Dunne believes he is on course to recover in time to face Gillingham in the U’s curtain-raiser, on August 3.

Dunne said: “The idea was for Craig to only play 30 minutes against Ipswich.

“If the season started in another ten days, he’d probably be ready.

“We’ve got three games to go before we start and he’ll play in all of those games.

“He did that and we also got Brian Wilson on the pitch again.

“That’s good news for us that we’ve got players coming back.

“We just have to manage it well and it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

“We don’t want to cause any problems for either Craig or Brian.”

Wilson’s knee injury has resulted in Tosin Olufemi featuring in the bulk of Colchester’s pre-season friendlies this summer.

The U’s youngster, who had previously played as a winger as a youth-team player, has impressed in the right-back role in Wilson’s absence.

Dunne said: “Tosin has come in and done well.

“Brian’s injury has given the chance for someone else to come in and do well.

“That’s the world but Tosin has certainly taken his opportunity.

“What’s important is Brian brings vast experience to that position, so we need to make sure that we get him fully fit.

“But we know that we have Tosin there and he’s done really well.”

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