JOHN McGreal admits Colchester United need to bolster their forward options with a new loanee in this month's transfer window.

The U’s are on the hunt for a new number nine, after Theo Robinson returned to parent club Southend United this week.

Robinson’s departure, along with Jevani Brown’s loan exit to Forest Green Rovers, has reduced Colchester’s attacking options and boss McGreal is on the lookout for reinforcements.

McGreal said: “We’re looking for forwards, that’s the thing.

“We’re looking for a centre-forward because we’ve lost Jevani (Brown), we’ve lost Theo (Robinson), we’ve lost Brendan (Wiredu) and we’ve got a few injuries, at this moment in time.

“We’re looking for that number nine as such, to give that competition.

“All of the top teams in our division have that out-and-out goalscorer in double figures and we do need that.

“We’ll be looking for a loan deal, especially with Jevani moving on.

“Even though we didn’t get the win that the performance deserved (against Stevenage) we’ve analysed it and some of the chances are unbelievable.

“That’s why we’re looking for that striker to give that competition, to keep everyone on their toes.

“Nos (Luke Norris) is our top scorer with eight and Theo is second with seven but with less starts and then we’re looking for goals elsewhere.”

McGreal insists Brown remains an ‘asset’ for Colchester - despite him being allowed to move to Forest Green.

The 25-year-old forward has managed only five league starts for the U’s this season, after joining them from Cambridge United in the summer.

“Jevani is an investment for the football club and he’s an asset for the football club,” added McGreal.

“Because of the emergence of Kwame (Poku) in that area, he wasn’t able to get the game time.

“It’s not like we’ve washed our hands of him; we’re looking after our investment.

“He’s gone to a club who are in and around our position but I don’t think he can play against us later in the season or potentially in the play-offs.

“It’s about getting him good game time which he has lacked, especially the last couple of months because of the emergence and the performance of certain players in that area.”