JUNIOR Ogedi-Uzokwe will return to Colchester United on the back of enjoying a 'truly memorable season' in the League of Ireland.

That is the view of Derry Journal Senior Sports Writer Simon Collins, who has watched the striker at close hand during his successful loan spell at Derry City.

Ogedi-Uzokwe, who will return to the U's following the conclusion of the Irish season, spent nearly nine months with the Candystripes, having joined them on loan in February.

The 25-year old was a big hit in the League of Ireland goalscoring charts, with his 14-goal tally earning him the coveted Golden Boot and helping them finish in fourth spot.

Ogedi-Uzokwe will now be hoping to impress head coach John McGreal in the coming months, as he returns to the U's.

And he will be doing so on the back of an excellent spell at Derry, according to Collins.

Collins said: "Junior was an integral part of Derry City's success in 2019.

"He was a mainstay in the City team and quickly became a fans' favourite with his trickery on the ball and his willingness and ability to run at defenders.

"It certainly didn't take him long to settle in the League of Ireland despite knowing little about it.

"It was a risky decision to opt to revive his career at Derry but the striker played a key role in securing the Candystripes' place in next season's Europa League.

"Junior was consistent throughout the season and formed a very effective partnership with fellow loanee, David Parkhouse.

"His goals and assists proved vital in Derry's challenge for European qualification and with the club needing a victory over their rivals Finn Harps on the final day of the season to clinch the fourth European spot, Junior came to the fore, scoring a hat-trick as City romped to victory.

"He also scored big goals in games against the top teams in the league including a 94th-minute equaliser against champions, Dundalk and another goal against the double winners in the EA Sports Cup Final defeat.

"It truly was a memorable season for the Colchester United man and Derry City boss, Declan Devine is hopeful he can bring him back on loan for the 2020 season.

"However, Devine understands his performances during his first season in Irish football could act as a platform for the striker to play at a higher level and will have alerted the interest of plenty of clubs."

Ogedi-Uzokwe joined Colchester from Isthmian League outfit Maldon and Tiptree on an 18-month deal in January, 2018.

The striker, who last summer signed a contract extension with Colchester which will keep him at the JobServe Community Stadium until at least the end of this campaign, has made ten league and cup appearances for the U's to date, scoring once.

However, only three of those have been starts and prior to joining Derry, he enjoyed a six-month loan spell with National League side Bromley last season, where he bagged six goals in 25 appearances.

Ogedi-Uzokwe got better and better as his loan spell at Derry progressed, according to Collins.

"Junior began his campaign slowly but didn't take too long to settle on Foyleside," he said.

"The fact he was an unknown quantity certainly helped as defenders didn't enjoy playing against him.

"He gradually got better as he became more familiar with the style and tempo of the league.

"A laid-back character, Junior, played almost the entirety of the season and was a potent attacking threat for the Brandywell club."

Ogedi-Uzokwe stated his favoured position was as a number nine when he joined Derry.

But he was utilised predominantly on the left wing during his time in Ireland, where he joined plenty of success.

Collins added: "During my first interview with Junior when he arrived at Brandywell he was intent on playing through the middle, claiming that was where he was most effective.

"However, he was only afforded a few opportunities to lead the line for Derry throughout the season and yet still managed to finish as the league's top scorer.

"He played on the left wing and tended to cut inside, linking up well with striker, David Parkhouse and the overlapping Ciaran Coll.

"It would've been interesting to see how he would've performed as an out-and-out striker."