New Colchester United signing Dominic Smith has been challenged to emulate the likes of Macauley Bonne and Sammie Szmodics and strive for a first-team place next season.

The powerful young striker has signed a one-year professional contract with the U’s, following his release by their League One rivals Crewe Alexandra.

Smith has primarily been brought in to play for the U’s under-21 side next season, after impressing during a trial period with Colchester.

But having blooded a number of academy players this season, U’s boss Joe Dunne wants to promote more youngsters to his first-team squad next year.

And Smith need look no further than the success of players such as Bonne, Szmodics and Tosin Olufemi in trying to break into the senior team, according to U’s development coach Richard Hall.

Hall said: “We’ve seen how well some of our young lads have done for the first team and that should be the carrot for the likes of Dominic.

“When Crewe said he wouldn’t be getting a new deal and the opportunity came about, we wanted to take it."

For more on this story and all of the latest Colchester United news, see Wednesday's Daily Gazette.