HE was only away from Colchester United a matter of days.

But the return of Theo Robinson on loan until the end of the season could be just the boost the U's need, heading into a busy and important spell of games.

Having scored more than a century of career goals, the experienced striker clearly knows where the goal is.

And with Colchester having managed just four goals in as many games, Robinson's return on loan from Southend United could be impeccable timing.

"He's a different player to the likes of Frank Nouble and Luke Norris, and it's always advantageous to have different threats in the squad," said U's boss John McGreal, after capturing the experienced striker until the end of the season.

Robinson was on target the last time the U’s played Macclesfield Town side, whom they host at the JobServe Community Stadium this weekend.

The Silkmen have just changed manager and are sitting two places off bottom spot.

Having failed to beat the side at the foot of the table in two successive weekends, the U's will be aiming to exert their authority on their troubled opponents.

Is it a must-win game for Colchester?

Perhaps not, given how much football there is still be played.

But given the U’s take on current top-six sides Exeter City, Bradford City and Swindon Town immediately after that, it is at the very least another precious opportunity to get a valuable first league win of 2020 on the board.

McGreal’s side have probably forgotten what it feels like to lose in League Two.

Indeed, Morecambe were the last side to inflict a league defeat on them back in October and the U’s are now 12 league games unbeaten.

But four successive draws - the last two against struggling sides - is nevertheless a disappointing return, for a promotion-chasing team.

Colchester are within touching distance of the top three, in a congested top half of the table.

But they will be kicking themselves at missing out on the chance to move into the automatic promotion places.

And as last season demonstrated, every point is precious in this division.

At the same stage this time, last season, the U’s were one point better off and they will be frustrated at their failure to put their opponents to the sword, in the last three games.

Colchester remain among the division’s highest scorers but the truth is that in recent weeks, they have not scored enough goals particularly at crucial times, something that reiterates the importance of Robinson's return.

It only takes one goal to win a football match.

But at the moment for Colchester, it seems as though they need to find the net twice in order to secure the three points.

At the half-time interval last weekend, the U’s were in a winning position at struggling Morecambe thanks to Frank Nouble’s strike and were seemingly in control.

But they allowed their hosts off the hook and 1-0 is always a vulnerable lead, as it proved when the hosts bagged a 69th-minute equaliser via the boot of Adam Phillips.

Perhaps it should have been expected, given that Colchester’s games against Morecambe over recent years have never been high-scoring affairs.

Indeed, a paltry six goals have been scored between the two sides, in their last seven meetings.

Nevertheless, disappointment was etched on the faces of the U’s players as they boarded the coach ready for the long trip back to Essex, last Saturday.

Somehow, the 1-1 draw felt more like a defeat.

Now they must turn that frustration into points and get back to winning ways.