JOHN McGreal has challenged his Colchester United forwards to fill the void left by leading scorer Luke Norris and hit the goal trail.

After a prolific start to the season the goals have been less frequent over recent weeks, with the U’s managing just four in their last seven games in all competitions.

Colchester drew a blank in their 2-0 defeat at Newport County, which saw them slip to fourth in League Two.

And with striker Norris still sidelined with an ankle injury, U’s head coach McGreal wants some of his other attacking players to step up and start scoring.

McGreal said: “Luke isn’t close at the moment so we need the goals to come from elsewhere.

“With Luke being out, who’s going to be that main goalscorer?

“He hit the ground running quite quickly and Noubs and Szmods have got a couple.

“We’re asking that because at the minute, we’re getting in and around the final third but we’re not getting on the end of crosses and or it’s shots straight at the keeper.

“It’s a lot of work still to be done on the training ground.

“That’s the challenge now – who’s going to take over the goals from Luke.”

McGreal was disappointed with the nature of the goals Colchester conceded in the Newport defeat.

Jamille Matt gave the hosts the lead early in the second half following a corner, before Cameron Pring wrapped up the Exiles’ win with a cool finish.

"The first goal we conceded was a poor one for us to give away,” said McGreal.

"I thought we bossed it for 55 minutes and then they got the goal and we had to change one or two things.

"But then we conceded a poor second goal and it was a tight game, as such.

"We had a lot of possession without overly creating and I don't remember (goalkeeper) Dillon (Barnes) doing anything.

"It's a tough one to take with the amount of fans that we brought.

"We're coming away from home against a side that's sixth knowing what game they're going to give you and we got it.

"I thought we were a little bit wasteful in our final passing and attacking third in the first half.

"But we started the second half particularly well and we had to dig in.

"They get the ball in long into your back four and we've been dealing with it all week.

"We did that in the first half but people have knocked off for the first goal.

"We didn't give in and we kept going but it wasn't our day.”

Colchester will be without skipper Luke Prosser for their home game against Exeter City this weekend, after he was booked in the Newport defeat.

Prosser picked up a fifth caution and will serve a one-match ban but McGreal added: “It gives someone else an opportunity to play.”