COLCHESTER United head coach John McGreal says their pre-season progress will be put to the test in their friendly against Ipswich Town tonight.

The U's play host to Paul Lambert's side at the JobServe Community Stadium (kick-off 7.30pm), in what will be their first home warm-up game of the summer.

Colchester have so far enjoyed a productive pre-season programme, winning all four of their friendlies without conceding a goal.

But former Ipswich defender McGreal admits his former club, who are preparing for life in League One following their relegation last season, will be an excellent game for them.

McGreal said: "Everything goes up a level for us with this game, in terms of pre-season.

“Ipswich are a huge club in division one now and it will be another test.

“It’s another exercise to try and get minutes into the boys but also try and work on one or two things from training and I’m sure it’ll be the same for Paul (Lambert).

“We’ve got the licence to utilise different shapes and I’m sure Paul has been doing that too, of late.

“It’s an excellent game for us to get those added, stronger minutes in and it’s a bit of a showcase game for our fans, as well.

“You’d hope it will be a decent crowd – that’s one of the reasons we had it, especially on a Friday night.

“That does something different for both clubs and we’re hoping for a nice turnout from both sets of supporters."

New Colchester signing Dean Gerken is set to face his former club Ipswich, having left them on a free transfer earlier this summer.

The 34-year-old keeper has rejoined the U's for a second spell and boss McGreal says he is delighted to have signed a player of Gerken's experience.

“We needed that number one and with that comes experience and character," said McGreal.

“He’s done a lot in the game and he’s been at Ipswich for six years.

“He might not have played as many games as he wanted but he’s a Championship goalkeeper.

“We’ve had some really good chats with Dean and I know what type of character he is anyway.

“He’s proven that already, so it’s a fantastic coup for the club."