The chance to build a talented young team is making manager Joe Dunne increasingly excited about the future of Colchester United.

Dunne has his focus mainly on the current League One campaign and lifting the U’s, who have taken ten points from their last five games, as high as possible in the table remains chief among his goals.

However, the Colchester boss also has an eye on building beyond the final game of the season.

Among those he is trying to tie up contract deals with is young midfielder Alex Gilbey and he said negotiations are “moving along in a positive way”.

Dunne said he sees the 19-year-old as a part of Colchester’s future.

He wants to keep as many of this season’s squad together as he can and he pointed to the success of Leyton Orient when highlighting the benefits of working with a group of players over a prolonged spell of time.

Dunne said: “It’s not just this season, I’m looking forward to the next one as well.

“If you look at what we have available for next season, we look useful.

“I’ll have players who will have been with me for the last two years and know how I want to play and how I want to do things next season.

“Look at Leyton Orient, they have a group of players who have been together with (manager) Russell (Slade).

“Going into next season, I’ll have players who will have been with me for a period of time and I’ll only have to add a small bit of quality to it.

“Alex (Gilbey) is a cog in the future of the club and that’s why I want him to stay.”

Skipper Brian Wilson, striker Clinton Morrison, midfielder David Wright and keeper Mark Cousins are also among those who will see their current deals expire in the summer.

And Dunne is excited about what he is creating for the coming years.

Dunne added: “Look at what we’re building for the future.

“Next year is very encouraging.

“What I’ve already got in the group is good but what we can add is encouraging.

“Where we’re going forward is great.”

For all of the latest Colchester United news, see the Daily Gazette.