Colchester United head coach John McGreal says the return of Doug Loft from injury has played its part in Macauley Bonne's recent absence.
Bonne, 21, has been a regular on the bench for the U's this season but the young striker has missed out on a place among the substitutes for each of their last two League Two games and sat with the travelling Colchester fans in their 1-1 draw at Morecambe, on Easter Monday.
Loft returned from injury over the Easter weekend after an absence of nearly eight months due to injury and started Colchester's 1-1 draw at Morecambe, on Monday.
And boss McGreal says Loft's comeback has had a bearing on Bonne's recent omission from the bench, as the U's hunt down a play-off spot.
McGreal said: “I think if you look at the squad, we’ve got everywhere balanced.
“We’ve got a centre forward, we’ve got midfielders, we’ve got defenders.
“I can only name five or six outfield subs and someone is going to miss out.
“The return of Doug Loft has also had an influence in that decision, too.
“It’s just a numbers game.”
Bonne has made 20 league and cup appearances for Colchester so far this season, scoring twice.
But the Zimbabwe international has managed only two starts, both of which came in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Bonne, who made his Colchester debut in 2013, has also had loan spells away from the Weston Homes Community Stadium at National League sides Lincoln City and Woking.