Tom Eastman is hoping his impressive display against MK Dons will lead to him getting more first-team opportunities for Colchester United, in the second half of the season.

The 20-year-old was handed only his third start of the campaign for the U’s in their 1-0 defeat at stadiummk, after replacing the injured Matt Heath in central defence.

Eastman produced a solid performance against one of League One’s leading teams and is keen to get more opportunities for Colchester, in the coming months.

Eastman said: “I felt good and I felt that I did quite well.

“Matt Heath is a good player and I have to take my chance when it comes along and I think I did that.

“Magnus (Okuonghae) helped me through the 90 minutes and he keeps me on my toes.

“The plan is to work hard in training now and hopefully I can prove myself.

“It was my chance to step in against MK Dons and take my chance.

“I have to keep working hard in training and in games and hopefully I can prove myself.

“My main aim personally is to try and get more starts under my belt.

“I want to put in more performances like the one against MK Dons, if I get the chance.”

Eastman feels Colchester should be encouraged by their performance against the Dons, who lie fourth in League One.

The U’s competed well and Magnus Okuonghae’s own goal proved the difference between the two sides.

“They didn’t really have too many clear-cut chances and it was a bit of a shame that we conceded from a corner,” added former Ipswich Town defender Eastman.

“We battled well and MK Dons is a difficult place to come to.

“They pass the ball well and they are big and strong but I thought that the whole team put in a good 90 minutes.

“I think we played well and it shows that we’re getting there.

“As a team, it’s about us improving and putting in some good performances.

“We’re not too far away and we need to keep plugging away.”

See Tuesday's Gazette for more on this story and all of the latest Colchester United, including a full match report and pictures from the Dons game.