COLCHESTER United boss Steve Ball says milestone man Dean Gerken still has plenty of hunger and ambition and is showing no signs of letting his career peter out.

The long-serving goalkeeper made his 150th League appearance for the club in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Walsall.

The former Ipswich Town man is in his second spell with Colchester, having resigned on a free transfer in July 2019.

He previously made over 100 appearances between 2004 and 2009.

“Aside from all the qualities he obviously brings - and he’s obviously got a few years left in him yet - a huge reason why we signed Dean was because he manages himself well off the pitch," said Ball.

“He’s one of the players who does a lot of unseen work, in terms of his communication with the younger group. That's the experience he’s got.

“Dean tells it how it is which is a great trait.

“He does it in the right way and it’s never personal.

“He’s a top pro and he wouldn’t have had the career he’s had without being a top pro.

“Sometimes I’ve met players who have come here in the latter stages of their career and this becomes their final move and one where they see their career out.

“But Dean is here to win things and you can see that, especially in things like the penalty shoot-outs last year and the play-off semi-final at Exeter.

"He was devastated at the final whistle and that definitely tells me a lot about his character."

Meanwhile, Ball has sung the praises of full-back Cohen Bramall.

He believes the former Arsenal youngster, who signed a two-year deal in August 2019, is a potent part of the U's attack.

“Cohen's a forward-thinking full-back," he said.

“He’s a modern-day full-back.

“He’s got to work on the defensive side of his game, as all full-backs do, but he does that every day. He’s a brilliant kid.

“Like last season, though, he can be a really big threat for us going forward.

“The more we can get him into deep positions - retaining the ball in deep areas to allow him to break forward - it’ll be great for us.

"He has a superb left foot and he sees things and can pick people out in the box."