COLCHESTER United’s midfield options are set to soon be enhanced after Tom Lapslie and Diaz Wright returned to training.

The duo have both been out since before pre-season, after undergoing knee surgery in the summer.

However, both U’s academy products have been taking part in running exercises at the club’s Florence Park training ground, this week.

And U’s head coach Steve Ball says that it is a big boost, adding to the numerous other midfield options he currently has.

Ball said: “Tom’s close.

“He’s back doing full running and he’s been flying around the training pitch.

“He’s not far away now and Tom has been – and is – a really key part of the group.

“Diaz is back running.

“The knee is building up every day and he’s been really working hard on it.

“With Diaz, he’s another one that can be a real asset to us, especially with the style we’re playing.”

Skipper Harry Pell has missed Colchester’s last three games with a groin injury.

And boss Ball says as much as he brings great value to the team, they will not rush the midfielder back

“We’re close with Harry,” said Ball.

“With him, it’s just been that one again where we’ve managed him.

“I don’t want to set him back again.

“I think we possibly looked at doing that a little bit too soon last week so it’s been managed really well, this week.

“He’s obviously been in my mind and he’s banging the door down every day to be ready to go.

“But the bigger picture is that it’s going to be a 40-game plus season.”

Ball says training has been competitive, as players compete for places ahead of Colchester’s clash with Oldham Athletic this weekend.

Ball said: “Players got minutes (against West Ham under-21s) on Tuesday and we had a 11v11 (on Thursday).

“There are 22 or 23 players now who are all fighting it out for that starting shirt.

“It’s good and it only increases the competitive edge to the group.

“The team are doing well and we want to keep the unbeaten run going, going into a home game where we will demand a really good, aggressive performance and if players don’t hit levels, they know what may happen.”