Colchester United head coach John McGreal admits he has been left pleasantly surprised by the strength of club captain Luke Prosser's recovery from a long-term knee injury.

Prosser is set to start a second successive game for the U's when they take on Carlisle United in League Two this afternoon, looking for a valuable three points.

The 29-year old had not started a first-team match for Colchester for nearly 15 months, prior to featuring in their 2-0 win over Newport County last weekend.

But he was outstanding against the Exiles and boss McGreal says he is delighted to see the centre-back return.

McGreal said: “Luke’s done tremendously well to get himself back in that shape.

“It definitely surprised me and one or two others.

“He’s had two 90 minutes in a week with the under-23 game as well, so credit to him with the way that he’s conditioned himself and come back in.

“He fully deserves to try and stay fit – that’s the big thing now.

“He’s been out that long time and he’s a bit different to the younger boys, where he needs to manage his body a bit more.

“But he was pivotal to our win last week, knowing how Newport go about their game."

Meanwhile, new loan signing Olamide Shodipo could be in line to make his U's debut today.

Shodipo signed for Colchester on transfer deadline day on loan from QPR, until the end of the season.

He missed out on being involved against Newport because of a minor injury but is now in the frame to feature, at Brunton Park.

McGreal said: “Mide has come back into the fore this week and has got blistering pace.

“He’s here to play football and games and I think he’s proved that in training this week.

“He’s over his niggle and he’s available, if selected."