Craig Slater has left Colchester United this afternoon after signing for Scottish Championship promotion-chasers Dundee United on loan until the end of the season, subject to international paperwork.

The Scotland under-21 midfielder, who is out of contract at the U's at the end of the season, enjoyed an impressive first season at the Weston Homes Community Stadium after joining them on a two-year deal from Scottish Premier League outfit Kilmarnock in July, 2016.

But Slater's first campaign in Essex was cut short in mid February, after he underwent hernia surgery.

And he has found first-team opportunities hard to come by over recent months following a hip injury.

After missing nearly two months of the season because of the injury, Slater returned to first-team action in their Checkatrade Trophy defeat to Gillingham, on October 3.

But the 23-year-old has managed just four League Two appearances for John McGreal's side since then, all as a substitute and struggled to get back into a side that is challenging for promotion back to League One.

Slater is the second Colchester player to move to Scotland on loan this season, following in the footsteps of striker Denny Johnstone who linked up with Scottish Premiership outfit St Johnstone in August.

Colchester head coach John McGreal has stated that he will need to allow players to leave in order to bring new faces into his promotion-chasing squad, in this month's transfer window.

And it seems that process has already started in earnest, with more departures likely as McGreal attempts to strengthen for the final four months of the season.