Colchester will check on defender Tommy Williams ahead of the home clash with Hartlepool.

The Bristol City loanee missed last weekend's defeat at Swindon with a groin injury but is close to being fit.

However, with Marc Tierney now back in the side at left-back following his recent lay-off, boss John Ward has no need to rush Williams back.

Long-term crocks Steven Gillespie (thigh) and Simon Hackney (back) have played in practice matches this week but will probably need more reserve outings before being considered.

John-Joe O'Toole and Morten Knudsen remain in the treatment room with knee injuries and will not be back until the new year.

The Us slipped to sixth after losing at Swindon but are just two points off second spot.

Hartlepool caretaker manager Mick Wadsworth has Ritchie Humphreys available for the trip.

Humphreys returns to the Pools squad after serving a three-match suspension following his red card in the FA Cup game against Vauxhall Motors and, with Wadsworth looking to make changes, could be recalled for the game at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Striker James Brown came off the bench to score the winner in Tuesday's replay with the non-league minnows and is pushing for a starting place after his return to full fitness following an ankle injury.

Colin Larkin (back) and Denis Behan (shoulder) are both expected to return to the squad after resuming full training.

Adam Boyd is pushing for a recall, while Leon McSweeney will be hoping to retain his place on the wing.

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