Frankie Kent says signing a new contract at Colchester United is a "stepping stone" for him to continue improving as a player.

The accomplished centre-back, whose previous deal was due to expire at the end of the current season, has agreed to stay with the U's until the summer of 2020.

Kent has made more than 60 league and cup appearances for Colchester since making his senior debut for them in 2014.

And the 21-year-old says he was happy to commit his future to the club and have the security of a new contract.

Kent said: “I’m really happy to get it signed – now I can hopefully focus on the football side and get back in the team.

“This is another stepping stone of me trying to improve and get better and I think this is the place to do it at the minute.

“Everything has worked out really well here other than the injuries that I’ve had.

“One of the biggest things about signing the contract was the security that it brings.

“I’m not saying that I can relax – I know that I have to keep improving and the pressure is on me to perform as an individual and for the team."

Kent is currently waiting for the results of a scan on his ankle injury which has sidelined him for Colchester's last two League Two fixtures.

The former Arsenal academy youngster was forced off in the U's 3-1 win over Crawley Town, earlier this month.

“It’s getting better and it’s a lot better than it was, so hopefully it’s nothing too serious," said Kent.

“It happened to the ankle I injured last year.

“It’s not really been a problem but it’s been a niggle from the middle of pre-season and it was a case of managing it and getting through it.

“But then against Crawley I planted really hard and got a bit of a kick on it which made it flare up really hard and I didn’t want to take any chances with it in the second half and damage it more.

“It was swollen in the days after that though and wasn’t getting too much better so we got the scan done and now we’re just waiting for the results.

“The problem over the last couple of years for me is that I’ve picked up an injury just when I’ve started to have a run of games.

“But hopefully it’s nothing too serious and I can get back sooner, rather than later."

Kent is set to sit out Colchester's home clash with Wycombe Wanderers tomorrow because of injury.

However, he admits that it is the start of an important period for the U's, with away trips to Grimsby Town and Yeovil Town to follow next week in quick succession.

He added: “It’s been an awkward start – we’re getting over the losses fairly well and performing well at home but then the form is dropping down again away.

“It’s been a bit stop-start but I’m sure we can put it right soon.

“Everyone knows about the away form and that’s something that we’re trying to rectify.

“The next three or four games are going to be really important.

“We have a big game against Wycombe on Saturday and then we have the two away games on the bounce.

“We’ll look to get a result against Wycombe first and then go into the two away games with a positive mindset."