COLCHESTER United's cup exploits this season have been a boost to the development of Courtney Senior, according to head coach John McGreal.

The U's have enjoyed superb success in the Carabao Cup, beating Premier League sides Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace on the way to a quarter-final showdown at Old Trafford with Manchester United next month.

Like a number of players in his squad, McGreal feels Senior has benefited from the exposure that run has given him and, as they prepare to host Coventry City in the first round tomorrow, he hopes the promising young winger can find a similar boost in the FA Cup.

“Courtney plays every week because we know what he can do," said McGreal.

“He is one of these boys who is willing to listen and he does study the game and is willing to work on his game.

“He knows he sometimes lacks that consistency but, of late, he has been playing to a very high standard.

“I think the cups have helped him.

“The spotlight of the cups has not only helped the club, but it has helped individual players and Courtney is one of them.

“They want to test themselves against the better players in those big games and that has had a knock-on effect with Courtney’s league form.

“We’re just trying to tweak little parts of his game at the moment.

“We know what he can do, but there are times when he can drift out and we’re working on plan Bs and Cs to get consistency in his game because when he’s in the game, he is very hard to mark."

Another big member of McGreal's squad is Harry Pell and after seeing him return to action following an Achilles problem, McGreal is pleased to have him back fighting for a place in the starting line-up for Saturday's FA Cup tie.

He added: "Harry has been a brilliant player for us and I know he has been chomping at the bit to get back because he has been looking at those boys in front of him while he's been injured.

“Your Lapslies, your Brendans, your Brandons, your Ben Stevensons – they are all in that central midfield area and have been doing a really good job.

“So he’s chomping at the bit to come back.

“He has an infectious personality and that rubs off on everyone else and he wants to be part of it when he’s injured, travelling to away games and in the dressing room.

“He’s a fantastic pro.

“The boys listen to him and he’s a big part of the dressing room."

Colchester aren't alone in local sides having first round ties in the FA Cup this weekend.

Ipswich Town are due to be hosting Lincoln City tomorrow, while Maldon & Tiptree face a huge game as the BetVictor Isthmian League division north side head to League Two's Leyton Orient on Sunday (kick-off 12.45pm).

Maldon are managed by McGreal's Colchester colleague Wayne Brown and the U's head coach is confident that the Jammers can do well on the big stage.

“You will definitely see a giant killer come out of the draw somewhere by Sunday night and why couldn’t it be Maldon?" he said.

“Browny has got them playing particularly well at the minute.

“They’re winning games week-in week-out and you talk about momentum going to a League Two side with a big crowd so it will be great experience for them."