Sammie Szmodics was left out of Colchester United's starting line-up against Cheltenham Town today because he is 'fatigued', according to boss John McGreal.

The U's leading scorer was an unused substitute in their 4-1 home defeat at the hands of Cheltenham Town, at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Szmodics' surprise exclusion from the team inevitably prompted rumours that he is about to leave Colchester in this month's transfer window, with a number of clubs monitoring the former Stanway School pupil.

However, boss McGreal says he was left out of the team because of tiredness, following a gruelling run of four games in nine days over Christmas and New Year.

McGreal said: "The fatigue has been taking its toll.

"We changed a couple of players the other day and we've had to do that again today, with Szmods.

"His fatigue has shown and that's just the way it is.

"Sam runs so much - he's tearing into corners and this, that and the other and four games have taken their toll, not only on him but on a few other boys in there, as well who have been fatiguing.

"The second half was a huge ask for the boys and they haven't been able to do it but we dust ourselves down and go again."