Colchester United attacking pair Freddie Sears and Gavin Massey are unlikely to feature again until the new year, according to boss Joe Dunne.

The duo both limped out of the U’s 1-1 draw at Preston North End last weekend, after both suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury.

They are both now facing a further spell on the sidelines and Dunne does not expect to see them back in action any time soon.

Dunne said: “With regard to Freddie and Gavin, I think it’s pretty bad.

“It’s not a case of them walking off and then being alright in a couple of weeks.

“It’s pretty sinister so I think we’ll have to make do without them until well until the new year.”

Dunne confirmed that midfielder Marcus Bean sat out the U’s 3-1 win over MK Dons last night with a minor hamstring problem.

“Marcus picked up a knock at Preston and I couldn’t take a chance with him,” said the Colchester boss, who will assess Craig Eastmond’s fitness tomorrow after he picked up an injury in the closing stages of the Dons win.

“It’s another hamstring injury and we’ll see where he is for Saturday.

“It’s not a strain or a tear but I didn’t want to take any chances.”

Dunne made five changes to his starting line-up for the Dons game and opted to play Jabo Ibehre up front in place of Clinton Morrison.

Morrison, 34, had started Colchester’s previous seven matches, in League One.

Dunne added: “Clinton has done a great job for us and he’s played a lot of games.

“He put in a great effort at Preston last Saturday.

“You can call it squad rotation but I need to make sure I keep as many players fresh as possible.

“Let me tell you, we can’t afford any more (players injured).”

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