COHEN Bramall grew up a five-minute walk away from Gresty Road.

But the Colchester United left-back insists returning to his home town to face Crewe Alexandra tonight will be strictly business.

Bramall was born and bred in the railway town and spent two months at the club as a youngster, before eventually being rejected by Alex.

The 23-year-old went on to carve out a career for himself in non-league football before being spotted by Arsenal and signing a professional contract with the Premier League club in January, 2017.

Now Bramall is plying his trade with Colchester and is set to play against the team that released him as a youngster when the U’s take on the League Two leaders this evening, with plenty of his family and friends in attendance.

Bramall said: “I was in and out of the Crewe academy and they basically said I wasn’t good enough and that I was too small, which I’ve had said to me a lot.

“It wasn’t just Crewe to be fair; there were a few clubs where they felt I wasn’t good enough but I’ve always kept my head held high and the confidence.

“My family have always backed me and I’ll just keep proving people wrong.

“Maybe when I was a bit younger I might have held a bit of a grudge but now I think they’re happy for me that I’m playing league football.

“I don’t hold anything against Crewe and I love everyone there.

“We played Crewe under-23s a couple of weeks ago and I spoke to a couple of lads and coaches there then – it was good to see them.

“As soon as I signed for Colchester, I looked when the fixture was against Crewe.

“It is what it is – it’s business and all of my focus is on Colchester now.

“I’m really excited about going there and they’re top of the league and flying."

Bramall will be hoping to retain his place in Colchester’s starting line-up at Crewe tonight, having been recalled to the team for the 1-0 defeat against Morecambe last weekend.

He is currently vying with Ryan Clampin for the U’s left-back spot and the former Birmingham City loanee says competition for places is fierce.

He added: “Training is getting more intense and everyone’s coming back fitter.

“If you’re doing well in training and you keep performing you’re going to keep your shirt, it’s as simple as that.

“Everyone’s competing for a place and it’s getting a lot harder in training for everyone, which is good for all of us.

“It’s an enjoyable team to play in and the style of play is good.”