Robbie Cowling is eager to see more of Colchester United’s up-and-coming youngsters benefit from men's football on loan, next season.

And the U’s chairman insists that the new roles handed to Wayne Brown and Kevin Horlock are not a pointer to who might eventually be the club’s future first-team boss.

It was all change at Florence Park this week, with Brown taking over as Maldon and Tiptree’s new boss as part of Colchester’s ongoing link-up with the Bostik League division north club and Kevin Horlock leaving his role as Jammers boss to succeed him, as U’s under-23 head coach.

It is part of the U’s desire to see more of their talented academy players experience senior men’s football, as part of their potential progression to the first team.

As a result, Colchester will field a much younger under-23 side in the Professional Development League next season.

In recent years, Maldon and Tiptree have provided a pathway for players such as Ryan Gondoh and Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe to break into the U’s under-23 squad and potentially their first team - but Cowling says there will be a change of direction, next season.

Cowling told the U’s website: “It will not be in all cases, but in most cases we will expect our young stars of the futures to benefit from experiencing more men’s football before they are thrust into the first team environment.

"Of course, not all of that will be at Maldon and Tiptree as that would not always be the best option and the rules regarding the number of loans allowed between clubs wouldn’t permit it.

“But with Wayne in charge at Maldon with his knowledge of our players and our club’s philosophy it will be one of our preferred options, especially if Maldon can get themselves promoted by a couple of levels in the next few seasons.”

Cowling was quick to emphasise that Brown and Horlock swapping roles was not an indication of his future plans for who might eventually succeed John McGreal as U’s head coach.

The U's supremo said this week's announcement of their new roles has raised speculation amongst supporters of both clubs as to which of them has been promoted to the more senior position, in addition to talk of who might be a future U's first-team boss.

But Cowling said: “This is not a statement of intent as to who is going to be the next first team Head Coach at Colchester.

“On the one hand I am really happy with the job that our current first team Head Coach John McGreal is doing, so I don’t expect that role will become available any season soon and on the other hand I would have a lot of applications and options to consider if it did…it is simply a matter of the fact that Wayne's role was - and still is - to prepare players for first team adult football.

“His new role allows him to do that in an environment which is about winning games of football.

“Kevin’s new role is to focus more on player development where the result is important but not everything.

“This we believe is the best pathway for our players and coaches as preparation for first team football.”

Meanwhile, under-23 trio Callum Jones, Dean Ager and Ollie Kensdale have been offered deals to stay at Colchester next season.

But second-year trainees George Phillips, Rob Howard, George Keys, Cabhan Clarke and Shakeem Ferlisi have all been released by the League Two club.