John-Joe O’Toole says he is determined to salvage something from his injury-ravaged season.

And the Colchester United midfielder believes his ten-month injury lay-off has made him even hungrier for success.

O’Toole’s welcome appearance as a second-half substitute in the U’s 1-0 win at Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night was his first since he ruptured a cruciate ligament at Charlton Athletic, last April.

It has been a long road back for the former Watford midfielder since suffering the horrendous injury at the Valley.

But the 22-year-old was naturally delighted to taste first-team action again, after such a long spell on the sidelines.

And O’Toole is now desperate to play as minutes as possible, between now and the end of the season.

He told the Gazette: “It’s been a long time and I’m just delighted to be back out there again.

“I’ve waited a long time and there were times when I thought “this isn’t going to come.”

“But it’s finally come and I’m delighted to be back now.

“I have to salvage something out of this season now.

“I’ve got to get my head down and do my bit for the team.

“I want to play as much as I can between now and the end of the season.

“But I know that I have to work on my fitness and I’m not taking anything for granted.

“I have to keep on top of my knee and hopefully all goes well and we’ll be up there by the end of it.

“I’m that bit more hungrier now, not playing every week.

“Maybe if this hadn’t have happened, I wouldn’t be as hungry as I am now.”

For more on this story and all of the latest Colchester United news, see Thursday's Gazette.