COLCHESTER United head coach John McGreal has outlined the reason for skipper Luke Prosser's surprise omission against Newport County.

The experienced defender was on the bench for the 3-0 win over the Exiles, after Tom Eastman was recalled to the U's starting line-up.

Prosser had missed only two League Two games for Colchester this season, prior to dropping out of their team for the Newport game.

But McGreal felt long-serving Eastman deserved his recall to the side, where he impressed alongside Frankie Kent.

McGreal said: “We’ve had a chat with Luke and we had to try and mix things up a bit.

“Luke totally understands that – we’ve got Tom Eastman who’s played 300-odd games and Frankie Kent who’s been playing to a high level.

“We want to keep that competition in there and we just felt as though this time, Tom deserved his opportunity."

Noah Chilvers was also among the substitutes for Colchester against Newport and came on for his professional debut in the final few minutes of the victory.

The 18-year-old, who has been with the U's since he was eight years old, has been training with the club's first-team squad since the end of last year and made his senior bow when he came on for Sammie Szmodics.

“It was absolutely brilliant for Noah," said McGreal.

"It was an ideal opportunity to bring Noah into the crowd as well and let them know the next one that’s been in and around it for us, because he’s been training with us as well.

“It took a little bit longer for him to come on because I think the ball was in play for about four minutes, before he came on!

“He got a little bit less time than he should have but he got on it straight away.

“Ben (Stevenson) was brilliant in giving him a pass straight away just to calm his nerves and then he got in and around it."

Meanwhile, McGreal admits Colchester have to be careful not to rush key midfielder Harry Pell back too soon, following his hamstring injury.

The former Cheltenham Town man has missed the U's last four matches due to the injury and underwent a scan on the ailment, last Thursday.

McGreal added: "We should have had the results on Friday or Saturday but didn’t and it’s really frustrating, even for the boy as well because he was close to training.

“But we’ve had to pull him off it and with hamstrings, you have to be careful with him because you don’t want to lose him for the whole season or the next ten games.

“Hopefully we’ll get the results on Monday and we can move on from it."