MICHAEL Turner will be looking to end a year long wait for competitive football when Southend United host local rivals Colchester in the Checkatrade Trophy tonight.

The experienced defender, who turns 34 on Thursday, has yet to appear for the first team this term after suffering a hamstring injury in pre-season.

But, having now regained full fitness, Turner hopes to be given the chance to face the U’s at Roots Hall this evening.

“We will have to see what the manager decides to do but I need time on the pitch to get my fitness up and hopefully the game tonight will be an opportunity to do that,” said Turner.

“It’s been extremely frustrating for me and it’s been painful to say the least so I’m just happy to be over the injury and to be back training.

“It’s been a big blow but hopefully I’m over it now and I can contribute to a successful season.”

Turner signed for the Shrimpers in the summer looking to kick-start his career having made just three cup appearances during his final season with Norwich City.

The last of those came in the Checkatrade Trophy at the beginning of November 2016.

And Turner is therefore excited to be back in contention for tonight’s encounter with the U’s who are currently 13th in the League Two table.

“I’m excited about maybe playing in this game,” said Turner.

“I’m looking forward to it and as a group we know we need to win it to progress in the competition which is what we want to do.

“It’s key to bounce back quickly and put what happened at Yeovil on Saturday behind us so we want to get a good result, especially as it’s a local derby.”

Turner was selected among the substitutes for the FA Cup defeat against the Glovers.

But he now feels fit enough to step things up.

“I’ve had 45 minutes in the under 23s and hopefully I’m a position now where I can get some game time for the first team and push on from there,” said Turner.

“That’s what I will be aiming to do.”

>BLUES’ home match with Oldham Athletic has been rearranged for Saturday December 2.

The game was originally due to take place this weekend.