Colchester United youth-team coach Wayne Brown believes chairman Robbie Cowling’s support is spurring the club’s youngsters on.

The U’s under-18s side, who travel to play AFC Wimbledon in the first round of the FA Youth Cup tonight, have embarked on a magnificent run since the start of the season, winning all 12 of the matches they have played.

The side, managed by Brown and John McGreal and presided over by academy manager Tony Humes, have been in red-hot form at Florence Park.

Colchester’s youngsters have benefited from the resources paid for by Cowling, who has invested heavily in the U’s youth department and facilities over recent years.

And professional development phase coach Brown said the U’s supremo’s enthusiasm for the club’s youngsters to excel is showing in their performances.

Brown said: “The chairman has backed it financially and he’s been extremely supportive of everything we’re trying to do with the young lads.

“He’s been at the training ground every Saturday for the home games and he’s fully backing us.

“It’s fantastic both from our point of view and for the lads, because it gives them so much encouragement to know that they have that support.

“It was a big season for the under-18 age group last year, because they had Category Two status playing the likes of Cardiff City, QPR, Swansea City and Bristol City.

“We did very well last year - to finish third and seven points behind the leaders was a good achievement.

“It’s massive for a club like Colchester United that we bring the lads through our system.”