WAYNE Brown believes his Colchester United youngsters will have no greater incentive to perform well this season.

Brown, who along with Steve Ball is in charge of the club’s under-18 side, says his players are striving to emulate some of their academy predecessors in progressing to the first-team environment.

The likes of Louis Dunne and Jack Curtis are the latest home-grown U’s players to have tasted senior action, having featured for Tony Humes’ side over pre-season.

And ahead of the start of the start of the new Professional Development League Two season this weekend, Brown says following in their footsteps should be their ultimate aim.

Brown said: “My remit is to try and make sure that it happens for as many players as possible.

“Over the last three years, we’ve done very well as a staff to get as many through as we have.

“It’s a great buzz to see players like Tom Lapslie, Macauley Bonne, Dion Sembie-Ferris and Sammie Szmodics play first-team football and battling for a place, week in, week out.

“It gives my players lots of encouragement to work hard, because if they do that they have a chance to progress.

“My job as under-18 manager is to try and get as many through the under-18 system as we can and get them on the next step of the ladder.

“It was fantastic for some of my lads to play under-21 football last season, playing at places like Cardiff City and the top arenas.

“That kind of experience can only stand them in good stead, if they do get into the first team.”

Brown said that some of his youngsters have trained with Colchester’s first-team squad, over pre-season.

“There’s a regular interaction between the under-18 and under-21 and first team,” said Brown, who made more than 150 appearances for Colchester as a player.

“During training sessions they’ll get some of my lads involved, which is great.

“If my lads can rub shoulders with players like George Elokobi and Tom Eastman on a day-to-day basis, it can only be a good thing.

“As under-18 manager, we talk to the first-team coaching team on a day-to-day basis.

“Tony and Richard (Hall) have both been in this position and know the age groups.”

Colchester’s under-18s kick off the new season with a trip to play Birmingham City, on Saturday lunchtime.