COLCHESTER UNITED are set for a busy summer of recruitment, as they attempt to build a squad capable of challenging for promotion from League Two.

The U’s earlier this month released 15 players, leaving plenty of scope for them to bring in reinforcements in the forthcoming transfer window.

There are some positions in the Colchester squad that appear to be well covered already, as Ben Garner plans for his first full season in charge as head coach.

Gazette: Ben Garner

However, other areas are not quite as competitive and they are the ones that the U’s are likely to actively target, as head of recruitment Ross Embleton and sporting director Dmitri Halajko go to work in attempting to bring in new faces.

Here are five positions that Colchester are likely to look to strengthen, this summer.


THE departure of Kieran O’Hara, coupled with Tom Smith’s return to parent club Arsenal following the end of his loan spell, has left Colchester needing to reinforce their goalkeeper options.

Sam Hornby will be hoping to challenge for a starting spot after recovering from a shoulder operation and young Ted Collins is under contract and regarded as a player of promise, by the U’s.


U's goalkeeper coach Graham Stack has plenty of experience and contacts within the game and he is highly likely to have his say in who should be brought in to the keeper ranks.

Smith was impressive in the six matches he played for the U’s, in the final weeks of the campaign.

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And Colchester’s defensive record was pretty good this season, with 51 goals conceded.

The signing the U’s make in this area will be crucial, as they head into the 2023-24 campaign.

Left-back/left wing-back

AL-AMIN Kazeem enjoyed a good breakthrough campaign for Colchester after emerging from the academy while Will Greenidge put in some solid performances in the final weeks of the season, in the left-back role.


However, Ryan Clampin’s release from the U’s and Connor Wood’s return to parent club Leyton Orient upon the end of his loan spell has left Colchester needing to strengthen in that area of the pitch.

The kind of left-sided defensive player brought in by the U’s might well depend on head coach Ben Garner’s preferred system for his side, in the 2023-24 season.

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In the majority of his games in charge since taking over in early March, he adopted a three-man defence with wing-backs so he may have requested a creative, attack-minded left-sided defender for his squad for next season.

Junior Tchamadeu played as a left wing-back in his final three games of the season and if the U’s Player of the Year departs in the summer, it could well influence the type of player the club pursue in both positions.


THREE experienced centre-backs have been released by Colchester this summer, leaving scope for them to strengthen in that crucial area.

With Luke Chambers, Tommy Smith and Tom Eastman all departing, the U’s are likely to want to add competition in that position.


Connor Hall and Fiacre Kelleher have both been outstanding since arriving at the JobServe Community Stadium, playing a big part in helping the club stay in League Two.

Tom Dallison will be fit again at the start of next season and Will Greenidge can play as a central defender, while young duo Harry Beadle and Frankie Terry are highly thought of, at the U’s.

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But ahead of a long season, it might be that Colchester feel they need extra competition, in this vital position.

Central midfielder

THE partnership between Arthur Read and Ossama Ashley blossomed in the final weeks of the League Two season.

The duo showed their competence in the central midfield area but much like the centre-back position, it is a position which is likely to be at least examined, this summer.


The departure of Cole Skuse, Alan Judge and Emyr Huws has reduced Colchester’s overall level of experience in that area of the pitch.

The U’s do have Noah Chilvers, Matt Jay and Alex Newby who can all play in a central attacking midfield role depending on the formation Ben Garner plays, while Marley Marshall Miranda has shown he is more than competent as a League Two player and fellow youngsters Gene Kennedy, Chay Cooper and Ryan Lowe will be hoping to knock on the first-team door.

READ MORE: Ben Garner makes transfer pledge ahead of summer window

However, with Garner looking to play positive, flowing football, the central midfield area will be key and may well prompt the U’s to further strengthen.

Jonny Williams, who played under Garner at Swindon Town, is now available on a free transfer and might be the kind of player the U’s target, in the forthcoming window.

Centre forward 

AT first glance, Colchester are pretty well blessed for options in the forward area.


John Akinde, Samson Tovide, Tom Hopper and Matt Jay are all still at the U’s for next season, while young strikers Jake Hutchinson and Bradley Ihionvien will be hoping to break into the first-team set-up.

But the departure of Freddie Sears, along with the fact that the U’s were the second-lowest scorers in League Two this season with just 44 goals, is likely to mean they will pursue at least one additional option in the forward area.

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This could well be a promising young player at a Premier League or Championship club who is looking to gain experience with an EFL club and who might be happy in a back-up role, particularly if Garner opts to continue with the Akinde-Tovide partnership that proved fruitful for the U’s in the final weeks of the season.