CALLUM Roberts' arrival on loan at Colchester United has played its part in Courtney Senior's impressive form.

That is the view of U's boss John McGreal, who believes the addition of the Newcastle United loanee last month has increased competition for places within his squad.

Roberts has had to be content with a place on the bench for Colchester since arriving from the Premier League club, just prior to the January transfer deadline.

The 21-year-old has made two substitute appearances for the U's so far, with Senior's fine recent form playing a big part in his lack of starts for McGreal's side so far.

However, McGreal says Roberts is training well - and is playing his part in Colchester's four-match unbeaten run in League Two.

And the U's boss says fellow recent signings Abo Eisa and Ben Stevenson have had a similar effect, in increasing competition for places within his squad.

McGreal said: “Callum arrived in late January and we went to Northampton and we hit a blaze.

“It’s difficult for him - I tried to get him on (against Carlisle) but things conspired against him coming on.

“But he’s trained to a really good level and he’s a boy that understands.

“He enjoys watching the game as well and how we perform.

“Callum has come to play games but Courtney’s performances have gone through the roof, of late.

“I don’t think that it’s any coincidence that it’s come at a time when Callum’s come in and wants to play on the right-hand side.

“Courtney has been unplayable at times, during the past month.

“Callum has come to play but it’s also had an effect on the team that way.

“Abs has had a similar effect on the team on the other side with Brennan and we’ve been able to play Noubs in his preferred role.

“The extra three bodies coming in have really helped so to have those options of late has kept us in and around it.

“Last year, we had the injuries but we didn’t have the backup really.

“We went young and I think we were in a similar position around Easter time but we drifted away, because we didn’t have that experience in the team."