Brennan Dickenson could feature for Colchester United under-23s by the end of the month after returning to first-team training.

The former Brighton and Hove Albion winger, who has been sidelined since last April with a cruciate ligament injury, has been working hard on his fitness and is now joining in with the rest of John McGreal's squad, at Florence Park.

Colchester are hoping that Dickenson, who was the U's player of the year last season, will be ready to feature for Wayne Brown's under-23 side by late January or early February, as he is eased back to full match fitness.

Colchester head coach John McGreal said: “It’s fantastic news – we know it’s going to be late February before he’s back so it's great for him to be involved in training."

Dickenson was a key player for Colchester last season, after joining them from Gillingham in the summer of 2016.

He finished as the second joint top-scorer with 12 goals and also provided a number of assists from the left wing, as the U's just missed out on a League Two play-off spot last season.