JOHN McGreal is hoping Colchester United’s supporters turn out in their numbers tonight - and help them in their quest to reach Wembley.

The U’s play host Stevenage in the Trophy second round, knowing victory would leave them three games away from the final.

Some fans have been boycotting Trophy games this season, in protest of Premier League under-21 teams being introduced in the competition.

But Colchester chairman Robbie Cowling is keen for fans to come and support their side at the JobServe Community Stadium, with tickets for tonight’s clash priced at £8 for adults and £1 for under-11s.

And with the U’s still going strong in the Carabao Cup ahead of their big quarter-final at Manchester United later this month, boss McGreal wants to make it a good atmosphere tonight.

McGreal said: “I spoke to the chairman (Robbie Cowling) last week and we want to try and get the fans in for the game.

“It was a brilliant atmosphere for the Ipswich game, in our last match in the competition.

“We can get to Wembley in this competition and for clubs like us and Stevenage, it’s about looking to try and do that.

“We’re hoping that our fans will turn out in numbers and cheer us on.”

Colchester return to action tonight for the first time since their 1-1 draw at Cheltenham Town in League Two, on November 23.

Ben Stevenson has been training and could feature, after missing the game at Whaddon Road with a back spasm.

Paris Cowan-Hall is the only player currently sidelined in the U’s squad, with boss McGreal expected to make changes to his starting line-up ahead of the second-round clash.

“We’ve been able to utilise the squad in this competition,” said McGreal.

“We’ve won games and that in turn has helped us in the league.

“We’re a game down in the league compared to other teams in and around us but this is a good game for us to look forward to, against a tough Stevenage side.”

Colchester beat Stevenage 3-1 in the league two months ago but boss McGreal insists that will have no bearing on tonight's game.

He added: “A lot of things have happened for both sides since that game.

“Mark has got players back and so have we from that day.

“It’s been nearly eight weeks since that game and that’s a long time in football.

“We want to go through as much as they do and we’ll be doing everything we can to win a game of football."