Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe has vowed to return stronger next season for Colchester United – and force his way into John McGreal’s starting line-up.

The 24-year-old striker has found opportunities hard to come by for the U’s since joining them from Bostik League division north outfit Maldon and Tiptree, in January.

Ogedi-Uzokwe has managed only three starts for Colchester but made a positive impression as a second-half substitute in their final two games of the League Two campaign, including the 1-0 defeat at Exeter City last Saturday.

He is now hoping to build on that next time around and hit the ground running for the U’s.

Ogedi-Uzokwe said: “It’s been good – it’s been really positive and I’ve learnt a lot since I’ve been here.

“I want to keep growing and help the team.

“It’s been hard stepping up from the Bostik League and I’ve had to get used to the different tempo.

“It’s also more physical in some ways too, so I just have to get used to that.

“It’s the gaffer’s choice but I have to work harder and give him no choice but to pick me – that’s what I have to do.

“I want to go and work hard over the summer, have that full pre-season and come back strongly.”

Ogedi-Uzokwe won the second-half penalty that Sammie Szmodics had saved by Exeter keeper Christy Pym at St James Park last weekend, after being fouled by Pierce Sweeney.

The miss proved crucial, after the Grecians grabbed their winner through Robbie Simpson with 18 minutes to go.

“I thought it was a definite penalty,” said Ogedi-Uzokwe.

“I saw the challenge coming in and I thought that I could get to the ball before him - I got there first and he kicked my foot.

“I do get myself into those positions a lot and I win a lot of penalties.

“Before they scored, we were on top of them making some chances, pressing and getting shots on goal but we just couldn’t score.

“Most of the teams we’ve come up against this season, we’ve been the better team but we just haven’t got the results.

“We all know how good we are so hopefully, next season we can do a lot better and get the results.

“There were a lot of positives to take, like Ryan Gondoh making his full debut.

“He put in some good crosses and played very well.

“I like playing with him because he knows how I play and where to put the ball for me in the box, so we link up well.

“I enjoyed it and there were a lot of positives to take but I wish we could have got the win.”