Kwame Poku made a scoring return to Colchester United's starting line-up

KWAME Poku needed a short spell out of Colchester United’s starting line-up prior to his goalscoring return to the side.

That’s the view of boss John McGreal, who has stressed the need for them to manage the talented teenager’s involvement for the U’s in his breakthrough season in professional football.

Poku was recalled to Colchester’s starting line-up at Salford City after a three-game absence and the attacker marked his comeback with a magnificent individual goal in their 2-1 win, at Moor Lane.

The highly-rated 18-year-old almost followed that goal up with another impressive solo effort minutes later, which whistled inches past the post.

Poku has made 34 league and cup appearances for the U’s this season, having made his professional debut for them against Gillingham, last September.

And after recalling him to his team, U’s boss McGreal says they need to manage the youngster’s game time wisely between now and the end of the season.

McGreal said: “Kwame needed to be rested.

“He’s 18 years old, he’s been carrying injuries.

“We have to pick the right times for him to perform and he was able to do that.”

Poku was one of four changes that McGreal made to Colchester’s starting line-up for their game at Salford.

Omar Sowunmi, Callum Harriott and Luke Norris were also recalled, at the expense of Tom Eastman, Brandon Comley, Courtney Senior and Frank Nouble who all dropped to the bench.

U’s boss McGreal said he had to change things, in the aftermath of back-to-back defeats in League Two.

“We had to shuffle the pack,” he said.

“There’s no getting away from that some of the boys have had a little bit of a loss of form, in a way.

“But we need them and we’ve needed them as they’ve come on as subs.

“We had to shake the pack and the boys who have come in have done unbelievably well.

“Credit to every one of my players – I thought they were fantastic along with the fans.

“I have to commend every single one of my players, even the subs on the bench.

“We stood up to the test in the second half against a team that’s just got to Wembley, who have made seven changes from playing (Newport) on Wednesday night.

“They’re flying high and Graham (Alexander) has got them going.

“Their place is bouncing at this moment in time and with the weather and the conditions like they were, you have to credit our players because they stood up to an unbelievable test.

“They kept their discipline superbly without making any mistakes and in the second half, it was all about defending.”