ETHAN Ross says the League Two football he has played with Colchester United in the final weeks of the season has been a valuable experience.

The 22-year-old goalkeeper started the U’s final two games of the campaign, after making his senior debut as a substitute in their 1-1 draw at Yeovil Town, last month.

Ross has had to be patient in making his Colchester first-team bow following his arrival from West Brom last summer, having found himself behind Rene Gilmartin and Dillon Barnes in the pecking order.

But after getting his chance, the keeper helped the U’s keep consecutive clean sheets in their final two games and says his time in the side has been beneficial.

Ross said: “If you look at the average age of goalkeepers in this league bar me and Dill, I’d say it’s 25 plus.

“The general consensus is that clubs go for experience, in this division.

“So any game time that I get in League Two is really valuable and I’m really thankful for the opportunity to have it.”

Ross spent time on loan at Maidstone United last January, playing four games in the National League.

He says his spell for the Stones was a productive experience, ahead of him making his Football League debut.

Ross said: “Reg (Rene Gilmartin) and Dill (Dillon Barnes) were both doing well at the time and it was a target for us that if I wasn’t going to play here, I wanted to play National League football at least.

“There was (a loan move to) Braintree set up at one time as well but I think that was when Reg got injured so I wasn’t able to go as I had to stay and be cover.

“When the opportunity came up to go to Maidstone, I was obviously delighted that there was good football there for me and I really enjoyed it.

“It gave me a little bit more purpose in my day to day training.

“I obviously try and train to a very good level every day anyway but it gave me more to focus on.

“I really enjoyed that month and it probably stood me in good stead for the end of the season, playing some games against some good teams like Leyton Orient.

“The under-23 games were also important, just to keep myself ticking over.

“I’ve been trying to replicate them to as much a first-team game as possible and make decisions like they would be in a first-team game.

“I’ve tried to prep myself as much as possible and played around 15-odd games there, so I’m glad to get some game time under my belt."

Ross is hoping that his former club West Brom can clinch promotion back to the Premier League for the first time of asking when they take part in the Championship play-offs.

The Baggies will take on Aston Villa in a bid to reach a Wembley final against either Derby County or Leeds United, for a place back in the top flight.

Ross said: “I was three years as a pro at West Brom and I had my YTS there too, so I was there for a long time.

“I really enjoyed it there and I played under a lot of different managers in my time there – there was at least six that I can remember during my time there.

“I learnt a lot there especially from the coaches like my goalie coach Mark Naylor – I’ve got so much to thank him for.

“It’s a club that I still follow really closely and hopefully they’ll be playing top flight again, next year.”