COLCHESTER United head coach Steve Ball says having midfield enforcers Harry Pell and Tom Lapslie available again will boost his side in the coming weeks.

The defensive midfield duo featured together in the U’s starting line-up for the first time this season in the 2-2 draw with Mansfield Town, last weekend.

A combination of injury and suspension issues have meant that skipper Pell and Lapslie had not previously featured together under Ball, prior to the Stags clash.

But now they are both available again and the U’s boss believes they can help provide some steel for the U’s, as they bid to halt their 11-match winless run.

Ball said: “There’s loads of angles on why we’ve hit this form.

“One of mine definitely is that when conditions change and pitches change, the whole outlook of the game changes.

“At the start, we could play our football and play through thirds and the sun is out – it’s great!

“I think the likes of Harry and Tom can add that little bit of steel in there and I think they both enjoy that.

“With those two more defensive-minded and physical players in there, it will really help us go through these winter months.

“The Mansfield match was Tom’s third game out of 27 and he was involved in everything.

“I just felt we needed fresh legs for the last 15 minutes or so.

“If you look at our bench, there was Ben Stevenson and Noah Chilvers who have been mainstays for the team this season and Brendan Wiredu, who played well at Leyton Orient was also in and around it.

“I’m going to use those players as we go through and to have that depth now is really good for me.”

Ball insists Colchester’s recent performances offer evidence that they are turning the corner.

The U’s head to Crawley Town this weekend looking to end a winless sequence that has stretched 11 games, in League Two.

However, Colchester have lost only one of their last four matches and showed good character to bounce back twice to claim a draw against Mansfield, last weekend.

“There’s real signs that we’re turning the corner here and real signs of positivity,” added Ball.

“I have a real strong belief now for the last 19 games of the season.

“We’re getting through the blip now and picking up points.

“It’s really important now that we prep right in the week and look to Crawley away on Saturday.

“I think there’s been some real signs of good character, over recent weeks.

“Stevenage away and Cambridge at home were games I thought we should have won and I thought Leyton Orient away was a really good point.

“We could have arguably nicked it (against Mansfield) towards the end.”