COLCHESTER United head coach John McGreal believes rising star Andre Hasanally can unlock opposition defences with his "inventive" play.

The 17-year-old attacker, who has been at the club since he was 11, has played a key role during pre-season and again featured in the starting line-up in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Dover Athletic.

He is hoping to be one of the latest batch of home-grown players to break into the club’s senior ranks - and he has already impressed McGreal.

“I’ve been given a directive to play the under-23s, this year," said the U's boss.

“Andre's a young boy learning his trade and he’s going to give possession away.

“But on the other side of it, you can see what a threat he’s going to be and we’re trying to educate him in and around that final third.

“That’s where we need those inventive players.

"Andre is certainly one of those; if not, his pace will get him beyond players in the box and get him goals."

Meanwhile, Colchester could be about to appoint a new first-team goalkeeper coach.

Ipswich Town’s head of academy goalkeeping, Darren Smith, is being tipped for the role, although the move is yet to be confirmed by the U's.

Having worked with the Blues’ young keepers for a number of years, Smith assisted Malcolm Webster with Town’s senior number ones during the latter stages of the veteran coach’s time at Portman Road.

Following the former Cambridge United man’s retirement at the end of 2017/18, Smith was handed the role of first-team goalkeeper-coach on a provisional basis under Paul Hurst’s management at the start of last season.

However, he returned to his academy duties after Jimmy Walker was appointed goalkeeper-coach by Paul Lambert in November last year.

Smith will be reunited with Dean Gerken at the JobServe Community Stadium.