FRANK Nouble is 'champing at the bit' to return for Colchester United ahead of their key home clash with Oldham Athletic, this weekend.

That's the view of U's head coach John McGreal, who will have the attacker available again to face the Latics, following his three-match suspension.

Nouble was forced to sit out Colchester's games with Cambridge United, Tranmere Rovers and Exeter City, after he was sent off in their 3-0 defeat at the hands of Forest Green Rovers, last month.

The 27-year-old is hoping to return to the U's starting line-up against Oldham but may have a fight on his hands to regain his place, after Colchester's victory at Cambridge in his absence last weekend.

McGreal said: “Frank is ready and raring to go and we’ve seen that in training, which has been hotly contested to say the least.

“He’s been in top form and he’s been champing at the bit.

“You saw the support he gave at Cambridge last week and the boys are in it together.

“After the buoyant win last week, the boys were really pleased to come in on Monday."

Colchester do not have any fresh injury worries, ahead of the game against Oldham at the JobServe Community Stadium.

And with Tom Eastman and Rene Gilmartin nearing full fitness again following their recent injuries and new signing Sam Saunders also pushing for a place following his substitute's appearance at Cambridge last weekend, boss McGreal admits he may have some tough choices to make.

“We have a couple of decisions to make between now and Saturday," said the U's boss.

“But that’s brilliant, because that’s what we’ve craved all season.

“Having that competition has kept us where we are and the main thing now is keeping everyone fit.

“Tom Eastman is back fit now – he made the bench last week at a push but he’s had a full week’s training now so he’s raring to go.

“Sam (Saunders) and Frank (Nouble) are ready to go too and it does give us that competition."

McGreal admits Tom Lapslie is yet to regain full fitness, following his recent hamstring injury.

But the tenacious midfielder started for the second successive game at Cambridge and has had a good week of training, according to McGreal.

He added: “Tom ran himself into the ground (at Cambridge).

“When he came off, he was lying on the floor trying to catch his breath.

“He’s 60-70 per cent – he’s building it up in training and he’s had no ill effects from the week.

“He’s trained every day and he’s continuing to build up his fitness work."