Chay Cooper has pointed towards his loan spell at St Albans City as part of the reason for his good start to his pre-season.

The Colchester United youngster arrived at Clarence Park at the start of February and was part of the squad that reached the National League South play-off final.

And he has begun the friendly campaign with the League Two club well, scoring in their opening game against Maldon & Tiptree.

That is partly due to his experience with Saints.

"The loan at St Albans was very good for me," said Cooper, who made 19 appearances and scored six times for David Noble's side.

"It was about getting games in men’s football but to get a few goals and assists on top of that as well was very good.

"I think it’s something that I needed.

"I'd done what I needed to do with the U23s and the next step was men’s football, so it was obviously the right loan for me.

"To go and affect it the way I did I think helped me a lot coming into the new season and is something for the gaffer to think about."

He is now hoping to catch the eye of U's manager Ben Garner ahead of Colchester's first league game of the season, at home to Swindon Town on August 5.

Cooper said: "It’s a new gaffer for me and football changes all the time, whether it’s players or managers.

"You’ve always got to do well and back yourself with what you do on the pitch.

"Thankfully, I did well last year and I think the gaffer perhaps heard about what I’d done and he’s given me an opportunity this year.

"I’ve just got to do more than everyone else, hopefully keep impacting it here at the club and then get the opportunities.

"You’ve got to try and catch the eye in the pre-season games, impact it as much as you can and do more than the other players.

"If I can run and keep fit and score goals, then it’s obviously going to put my name out there a bit.

"The gaffer has given me a few opportunities to train already and it’s been nice to train with them, be in and around it and be part of it."

St Albans City start their pre-season fixtures on Saturday when they host Cambridge United in a 1pm kick-off.