Colchester United legend Tony Adcock has urged the club to pull out all the stops to hold on to their best
players this summer.
The 45-year-old - who enjoyed two spells with the U's - feels it is imperative the club avoids a repeat of last season, when many of their most valuable assets left for pastures new.
Adcock was relegated from the old division three to division four with the U's in 1981, in his first season as a professional.
Despite Adcock's goals, the U's struggled to recover from that disappointment.
But the former striker hopes his old club will be able to make an immediate return to the Coca-Cola Championship next season.
He told the Gazette: "Hopefully next year we'll get a side that can push for promotion - providing they can keep most of the players together.
"I've always followed Colchester's progress over the years - it's the first result I look for."
Adcock began his career at Layer Road as an apprentice at the age of 16.
He clocked up more than 200 league and cup games for the U's in his first spell with the club, scoring 112 goals.
And the striker returned to Colchester on a free transfer in 1995 and stayed for a further four years, scoring 37 goals.
His exploits saw him make it into the club's Hall of Fame, to which he was officially inducted at last month's final-ever league game at Layer Road.