LUKE Norris has warned League Two defenders he is feeling fitter and stronger than ever – and is ready to hit the goal trail for Colchester United, this season.

The 26-year-old striker began the new campaign with a goal in the U’s opener against Port Vale last weekend and says he is feeling buoyed by a productive pre-season.

After making a prolific start to last season, Norris was restricted by a troublesome ankle injury which hampered his progress, particularly in the second half of the campaign.

But after working hard with U’s sports scientist Perry Blanchette over the summer, the forward has returned looking lean and sharp – and is aiming to fire John McGreal’s side to promotion.

Norris said: “I feel as strong as I have for a long time.

“If I stay fit and keep the injuries away, I know what I can do.

“I showed that at the start of last year.

“I’ve started with a goal and hopefully I can kick on and get us firing up the table, because I know if I’m on form it’s going to help the team massively.

“I’m hoping I can take the early goal and get another one on Saturday.

“I did a lot of work over the summer on different bits and bobs and it seems to have really helped so far.

“Pez (Perry Blanchette) has been a top man with me and we’ve done a lot of stuff.

“Pre-season has been good – I’ve got some goals but the league is the main thing and to start off with a goal in the first game is always pleasing.

“I just need to prolong that now and keep it going until our last game in April.

“It’s about me staying fit and I know what I can do if I can stay fit for the whole season.”

Norris started last season in fine goalscoring form, hitting seven goals in his first nine matches for Colchester.

But an ankle injury suffered against former club Swindon Town last November hindered his progress and he failed to score in his final 23 appearances of the campaign.

“It was tough – I came back a bit early but I just wanted to get back out there,” said Norris, who joined Colchester from Swindon last summer.

“It was frustrating because I was in and out and it was sort of niggly here, niggly there.

“It was never right so it was nice to have the summer off to let it calm down and do a lot of work on it.

“It’s probably the best it’s ever been so hopefully, it can stay strong.”

Norris will be aiming to build on his goalscoring start to the season for Colchester when they travel to play much-fancied Plymouth Argyle tomorrow.

He added: “If we can go there and get three points, it’ll be a big statement.

“We need to get points on the board early doors.

“We saw that last year, missing out by a point.

“Every point is vital - I think the draws are OK but we need the three points.”