JOHN McGreal says Colchester United’s victory at Gillingham in their Trophy Group A opener will bring extra investment for the club.

It is understood the U’s will rake in £10,000 in prize money for their group win after beating their League One hosts 3-2 at Priestfield, thanks to Paris Cowan-Hall’s brace and Theo Robinson’s strike.

McGreal made nine changes for the clash, fielding a mixture of youth and experience in his Colchester starting line-up.

And after seeing his in-form side extend their winning run to four matches and claim their first away victory in the EFL Trophy since 2008, the U’s head coach was pleased with their night’s work.

He said: “I haven’t overly had the best record in the cups but this season, it all seems to have clicked.

“It’s great for the club because it’s investment again that we don’t really pitch for with the budget as such.

“It’s great - I’ve picked a team to win a game of football and you could see that.

“It’s really nice to get four wins in a week.

“It’s been a tough, tough slog don’t get me wrong.

“The boys have been recovering rather than training and they’re still putting the effort in, on the pitch.

“We blooded the young kids who have been on the bench and have needed the opportunity with a nice bit of experience alongside them.

“We had to study the rules and regulations of the competition.

“Credit to (club secretary) Nancy (Hayes) – she was brilliant with what we could do with the experience.

“We’ve got a few sore bodies from what we’ve been through and we just felt it was the right blend to go with.

“The kids were great but I also have to give credit to the experienced boys.

“They pulled them along and Theo led the line fantastically well.

“He scored a great poacher’s goal and Paris has scored a couple of goals, as well.

“You need that when you’re putting in a youthful team.”

Colchester went ahead at Gillingham through Paris Cowan-Hall, who marked his first start for the club with a goal.

Stuart O’Keefe equalised before half-time but Theo Robinson restored the U’s lead and Cowan-Hall made it 3-1, before former Colchester striker Mikael Mandron netted for Gills to ensure a close finish.

“We felt we had to change it at half-time which we did and then we got hold of the game,” added McGreal.

“It was a poacher’s goal from Theo and then I thought our third was a fantastic goal with the passing and the moving.

“They came at us then – Steve (Evans) doesn’t like losing.

“I know that as I’ve come up against him a number of times.

“He brought all of the big guns on when it was 3-1 and I just felt as though we had to change that a little bit as well to keep us in that foothold when it went to 3-2.

“The chances were still there for us.”

Next up for Colchester in the competition are Spurs under-21s, who lost 2-1 at Ipswich Town in their group opener last night.