SEAN Murray admits he has had to play a game of patience in order to reclaim his place in Colchester United’s starting line-up.

The 24-year-old made his first U’s start since October 21 in their 0-0 draw with Cambridge United, on New Year’s Day.

Murray has had to bide his time in waiting to force his way back into John McGreal’s team following his knee injury, having returned to fitness in the early part of last month.

He made five substitute appearances for the U’s prior to returning against Cambridge and the midfielder admits it was good to be back in the side.

Murray told the Daily Gazette: “It’s been a while and it was good to come back from the injury and be back in the starting line-up.

“Obviously, the boys have been playing so well so I’ve just had to be patient.

“The Cambridge game was the perfect chance for me to come in after the other boys had played a lot of games.

“It was good to get through it without an injury.”

Murray helped Colchester extend their unbeaten run to six matches against Cambridge.

The eighth-placed U’s lie just a point off the League Two play-off places and three points adrift of the automatic promotion spots, ahead of this weekend’s home game with Cheltenham Town.

“If you look at the stats, they’re brilliant,” said the former Watford youngster.

“We’re six unbeaten now and have kept three clean sheets in a row.

“We’ve done really well over the Christmas period, having played a lot of games.

“Even the changes that were made (against Cambridge) didn’t really change the way that we played, especially in the first half.

“We’re a hard team to beat at the moment and I think that’s credit especially to the defence and Sammie (Walker) in goal.

“But as well as being hard to beat, we need to get scoring goals and that’s something that we’ll be working on, for sure.

“We’ve put ourselves in this position and there’s only one way we can look at it and that’s pushing up there and trying to get into the automatic places.

“We’ve been very close over the last couple of weeks and a goal here or there would have put us there.

“If you look at the other results, everyone is beating everyone so we’ll have to just keep going.”

Colchester had their chances against Cambridge but Murray admits they had to be at their best defensively in the second half of the goal-less draw.

“We’ll take the point,” added Murray, who was substituted with 21 minutes remaining against Cambridge.

“At the end of the day, it was a good first half from us but in the second half, they changed it a bit and we had to work on trying to stop that.

“Every team is different and they played it long to their big lad up top and caused us a few problems, in the second half.

“But the lads were chucking their bodies in front of the ball to stop them from scoring and that helped us.

“We could have put the game away in the first half, with the chances that we had.

“We finished strongly too and had a good few chances down the right hand side and it could have gone either way.

“We could have taken the three points but I think a draw was a fair result."