MIKAEL Mandron has played his part in Sammie Szmodics’ recent scoring streak for Colchester United.

That is the view of U’s head coach John McGreal, who feels the French striker has deserved more for his endeavours since returning to the starting line-up.

Mandron has started Colchester’s last two games in League Two, having prior to that failed to feature in their League Two starting line-up this season.

The 24-year-old enjoyed a fruitful attacking partnership with Szmodics last season, with the pair bagging 23 goals between them.

And after Szmodics netted in each of their last two games, U’s boss McGreal feels Mandron’s influence has been important.

McGreal said: “I don’t know if it’s a coincidence but you look at the partnership he had with Mika (Mandron) last year and the goals they scored – it was terrific.

“Mika did a lot of work for Szmods to get the plaudits.

“Mika has come into the team for the last two games and hasn’t got what he’s deserved for his work rate but Sammie’s getting it.”

Szmodics has scored three goals in his last four league games for Colchester, including their winner in the 1-0 triumph at Forest Green Rovers.

“The goal that we scored was a lovely sharp, crisp finish by Sammie who again, is in good form,” said McGreal.

“He’s not only in scoring goals but also his work ethic, defensively and stopping Lloyd James in the first half, who we knew was a threat.

“In the second half, we adapted our shape a little bit differently to work on the counter and he’s done it to the letter of the law.

“He could have come away with a couple more goals.

“We were wasteful at times – we found lovely pockets at times but didn’t execute it.

“But we didn’t turn away and we wanted to pass.”

Meanwhile, McGreal says it is the right time for attacker Louis Dunne to return to the first-team fray.

Dunne travelled with Colchester’s first-team squad to their League Two game at Forest Green last week, having been back in under-23 action for several weeks following a long injury lay-off.

The 20-year-old returned to match action last month after a nine-month lay-off following knee surgery, after coming on as a substitute in the under-23s’ game at Coventry City in Professional Development League Two.

The Republic of Ireland under-18 international, who made his senior debut for Colchester in March 2016, is now knocking on the door of the first-team squad.

McGreal added: “Louie has been on the last couple of trips now and he’s been in and around it.

“I feel it’s right now for him to come back in and around the squad.

“We’ve got a small squad and these are the (under) 23s who are backing it up.”