COLCHESTER United double promotion winner Paul Abrahams was primed to pull on his boots again and roll back the years – at the age of 46.

The former U’s attacker was named as a substitute for injury-hit Maldon and Tiptree for their Isthmian League division one north game at Dereham Town, on Saturday.

Abrahams, who is Jammers boss Wayne Brown's assistant at Park Drive, was on the bench after a spate of injuries left the league leaders with only 13 fit players for the trip to Norfolk.

But the former U’s favourite, who made his last competitive appearance as a player for Halstead Town nearly ten years ago, was not called upon in the end.

The Jammers claimed a 2-1 win to boost their title hopes – and Abrahams insists he said he would have only taken to the field in an emergency.

Abrahams said: “It was picked up on social media on the day; I got a few messages on my phone from my wife with some question marks on them!

“We already had players out injured and Dani Collinge unfortunately had to drop out with a hamstring injury, before the game.

“Out of chance, I had registered as a player in pre-season with no thought of putting on a pair of boots but it was a case of needs must, on Saturday.

“It was better to have a body on the pitch if required, albeit a very immobile one!

“But it would have been very unfortunate had we lost more than two players during the 90 minutes.”

Maldon had first-team players missing through injury at Dereham, with Dani Collinge, Rob Girdlestone, Quba Gordon, Danny Parish and Ryan Charles all sidelined.

But their numbers will be boosted for their trip to Bury Town tonight with the addition of teenager Jess Norey.

“It was a one off - it didn’t change my focus on the day and there was no intention for me to go on,” said Colchester-born Abrahams, who had two spells with the U’s, making 179 appearances and scoring 34 goals.

Meanwhile, Abrahams has backed his former club Colchester to at the very least make the League Two play-offs, this season.

The U’s have just suffered three defeats in their last four games and lie seventh in the table but recently embarked on a 16-match league unbeaten run.

“The unbeaten run was phenomenal and it showed the consistency that they have,” added Abrahams, who won promotion with Colchester in 1992 and 1998.

“I know there have been a couple of disappointing results but they are human beings and players have off days; when it’s three or four players who have off days, the result might not go your way.

“But with that consistency they had during their unbeaten run, I’m very confident that at the very least, they’ll make the play-offs but I also wouldn’t rule out a charge for those top-three places.

“We had winning runs to make the play-offs; I remember us winning five or six games in a row and a similar run can get them in the automatic promotion places.

“If they can get the momentum, I’m fully confident they’ll be able to get at the very least a play-off place.”