MIDFIELD dynamo Tom Lapslie was 'desperate' to return to Colchester United's starting line-up after injury.

That is the view of U's head coach John McGreal, who has revealed the tenacious midfielder was champing at the bit to return after a three-week injury lay-off.

Lapslie, who has made 135 league and cup appearances for Colchester, returned to the side in their 0-0 draw with Walsall having been sidelined since August 13.

The 23-year-old, who only returned to full training last week, completed the full 90 minutes against the Saddlers after replacing Brandon Comley, who is away on international duty with Montserrat.

McGreal said: “Tom’s been training from last Tuesday onwards.

“He’s been training really, really hard and he’s been desperate to get back.

“He’s been a little bit longer out injured than we had anticipated and he doesn’t want to miss any more game time.

“Brandon (Comley) has gone in there and done particularly well but we throw a gauntlet down to players and if opportunity knocks, then try and grab it.

“Tom made himself available and you try and get him off after resting up and missing three weeks – you’re not going to be able to do that.

“It just shows you again that he wears his heart on his sleeve."

Colchester now have a full week to prepare for their trip to play Forest Green Rovers, this weekend.

It has been a gruelling few weeks for the U's, who have had ten games in the space of little more than a month in all competitions.

Colchester's under-23s are in action against Crewe Alexandra at the JobServe Community Stadium tonight, in their latest Professional Development League Two match (kick-off 7pm).

The U's could use the game to give the likes of Omar Sowunmi, Noah Chilvers and Cohen Bramall game time, as Colchester bid to increase competition for places.

McGreal added: “We’ve got a full week now to recover, which the boys will be desperate for really.

“You could just sense that in the game and even before kick-off, because they give you everything they’ve got.

“Having ten games in such a short space of time is a tough ask of any team.

“A few of the boys will get the minutes they’ve been lacking in the under-23 game."