Mark Stimson is poised to hand debuts to new loan trio Rene Howe, Tristan Plummer and Darren Dennehy when Gillingham come up against Colchester.

Howe has joined the club until the end of the season from Championship side Peterborough after failing to secure a regular first-team role at London Road.

Republic of Ireland Under-21 defender Dennehy joins from Cardiff while 20-year-old Plummer, who can operate on the wing or in an attacking role, joins from Bristol City. Both players have joined on initial one-month loan deals.

Fellow loanee Manchester United striker Febian Brandy, who scored two goals in nine appearances for the Priestfield outfit, has returned to Old Trafford with an ankle injury so will not feature.

Winger Andy Barcham, defender Garry Richards and goalkeeper Simon Royce are all out with knee injuries while Simon King and Danny Jackman are long-term absentees.

John-Joe O'Toole makes a welcome return from suspension for Colchester.

Midfielder O'Toole missed the last two games after picking up 10 yellow cards, and can expect to walk straight back into the starting line-up after the Us let in 12 goals without reply during those matches.

But striker Ian Henderson starts a three-match ban after a debut red card towards the end of last weekend's 5-0 defeat by Norwich.

Centre-half Paul Reid could return after a recent hernia operation and new Norwegian defender Morten Knudsen will be in the squad if he gets international clearance in time.

Ashley Vincent (ankle), Lee Beevers (shoulder) and Scott Vernon (knee) are all back in training after spells on the sidelines.

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