COLCHESTER United’s players are being put through some ‘intense’ training sessions, as they prepare for the proposed League Two play-offs.

And U’s sports scientist Perry Blanchette insists the squad are rising to the challenge, after returning to training at Florence Park.

Colchester’s first-team squad are undertaking small group training sessions in line with EFL guidelines, set in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.

John McGreal’s squad are currently adhering to phase one of government protocols, following a first round of testing at the end of last week where four individuals tested positive for coronavirus and are now self isolating.

The U’s will be hoping to advance to contact training once they are given the green light to move on to phase two by authorities.

But preparations have already started in earnest for their likely play-off against Exeter City – with the first leg set to take place later this month.

Blanchette said: “We’re preparing for a massive game and we only have around two weeks or so to do so.

“It’s been quite intense and we’ll ramp it up with the intensity levels every day so that we hit those match levels.

“The boys will be fit and ready.

“We’re building up the volume of their work and it’s one of those situations.

“No-one is moaning – everyone’s on board and looking forward to an exciting time and we’re just fortunate that we have play-offs to work towards.

“It’s been tough work over the last few days but all of the boys have come back in very good shape.

“They’ve all been doing their individual programmes, over the last few weeks.”

Colchester are waiting to discover the date of their potential play-off semi-final first leg against Exeter, with the weekend of June 20-21 a potential option.

The U’s have not played a competitive match since winning 3-0 at Carlisle United on March 7 but preparations are now in full swing for one of their biggest games in recent years.

“To only have a two-week spell before the first game is a challenge but it’s an exciting challenge,” added Blanchette.

“It’s not ideal to only have a couple of weeks or so to prepare but it’s an exciting prospect and I think we’d have all snapped your hand off to have a chance to get promoted like this.

“We cannot have contact so that’s been difficult and there’s been a lot of isolated drills.

“It’s strange not to have a game (in training) - we’re having to think outside the box and be creative and that’s what we’ve been doing.

“Because of the situation we do have to take some calculated risks and we might have to push the boys harder than we would normally like to.

“It’s been hard to plan, because things have been changing but we’ve still been able to hit the boys with the targets that we wanted."