COLCHESTER United head coach Steve Ball says there is plenty of competition for places ahead of today’s showdown with Bolton Wanderers.

The U’s are ready for their first home league game of the season this afternoon when they host the Trotters, at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Colchester secured a creditable point at Bradford City, on the opening day of the League Two season.

But winger Callum Harriott could be available again after missing the game at Valley Parade with a hamstring injury.

And the likes of Courtney Senior and Paris Cowan-Hall are also pushing for a start, having appeared as substitutes in that contest.

Ball said: “We have competition for places and that’s what I want.

“I’ve said that from day one and it’s a real competitive group.

“We’ve got some people coming back now to fitness which is good and they’ll be pushing to play.

“The players who played last week (at Bradford) would expect to start the game again but I want to treat each game as it comes individually and we’re in a really good place with the squad.”

Colchester’s under-23s enjoyed an impressive 1-0 win in their Professional Development League Two opener at Watford on Monday, a performance that gave boss Ball food for thought.

He said: “We defended really well and Callum Coulter was excellent in goal – he was probably man of the match.

“He made four or five point-blank saves.

“As the game wore on we got better and Sam McLeod stood out towards the end of the game – he got the winning goal, too.

“He pushed a little bit nearer so that was good for Sam, on Monday.”

Colchester are looking for victory today against a Bolton side who are also looking for their first win in all competitions, this season.

Ball said: “Bolton have good players and they will get to the level quickly.

“If you look at who they’ve played, they’ve played Crewe, Bradford and Forest Green.

“They’re all good sides.

“It’s a relentless league but all I know is that Bolton are a really good team with a good manager who play the right way, so they’ll be a threat.

“Ian (Evatt) did a great job at Barrow – I watched them a lot last year.

“They’re a really nice, fluid team, 3-5-2 and he’s going to bring that to Bolton.

“He will want time to do that and Bolton is a team with a big expectation this year.

“They have a really nice budget to work to and they have some really good players, for this division.

“They’re a team who will come with pressure but they’re a team with quality and they’ll produce a real test for us on Saturday.

“It’s a tough league and it’s really hard against any team, in this division.

“Bolton played Forest Green who are a good possession side last week and there was nothing in the game – a bit of quality and they score.”

Colchester could face their former player Brandon Comley today.

And boss Ball had nothing but good words to say about the midfielder, who joined Bolton earlier this summer after leaving the U’s.

Ball added: “Coms is a great lad and he was a pleasure to work with.

“He would always give his all for the club and he’s a good player, good in possession.

“He links it in there and he’s a good midfield setter so I’m sure he will want to come and put one over us.”