Colchester coach Ben Garner expects new signing Cameron McGeehan to improve after lasting almost an hour in his first game since April.
The 28-year-old joined the U’s as a free agent, having been released by Belgian club Ostend.
He was included in the starting lineup for Saturday’s match 2-0 home win over Tranmere Rovers In the second league.
“Those minutes will be very valuable for him, as it is his first game for a long time,” Garner told BBC Essex Sport.
“He’ll be much better for it, and it’s been a really strong start from him.”
McGeehan scored four goals in 21 matches for Ostend in the 2022-23 season, in the second tier of Belgian football, and also played his first international match for Northern Ireland, against San Marino.
He joined a Colchester side that had won just one of their previous five League Two matches.
McGeehan was replaced by transfer deadline day signing Guy Mainje, who made his debut from the bench, while centre-back Zac Mitchell played his first 90 minutes for the club after arriving from Charlton.
“I thought Zach Mitchell’s debut was as good as I’ve seen at any other club,” Garner said.
“He’s only 18 and obviously I knew Zac previously and gave him his debut at Charlton last season, so we knew what we were getting in terms of personality.
“He has lifted the group. He is as brave as a lion with and without the ball. He is everything I like to see in a player in terms of courage and strength.”
Colchester will next play a home match against third-placed Mansfield Town on Saturday.