Colchester United director Tony Ashby says their early business in the transfer window has left him feeling ‘very optimistic’ ahead of the new season.

The U’s have wasted no time in strengthening their squad for the 2018-19 campaign, bringing in six new players since the last season ended, five weeks ago.

Experienced performers Frank Nouble and Harry Pell have both arrived from League Two rivals Newport County and Cheltenham Town, respectively.

And striker Aaron Collins has been drafted in on a season-long loan from Premier League new boys Wolves, to bolster Colchester’s attack.

Goalkeepers Bailey Vose and Ethan Ross have also been signed and Noah Chesmain has added to the U’s defensive options, as John McGreal builds his squad for next season.

Ashby is suitably encouraged by their dealings so far - and the U’s Head of Football Operations also believes Luke Prosser extending his stay for a further two years is also a big boost.

Ashby told the Daily Gazette: “I’m very optimistic about the new season.

“I’m not going to come out here and make any predictions for next season but as a club, we want to do as well as we possibly can in all areas.

“I’m very positive about where we are at the moment and where we’re going.

“I think we’ve made a lot of good decisions.

“I think the business that we’ve done so far has been very good.

“We made an early summer signing in Harry Pell, who I think will be very good for us.

“We looked at him a year ago but for one reason or another, it didn’t materialise so it’s good to get him on board now.

“We’ve brought in two goalkeepers and I’m sure there’ll be plenty of competition in that department.

“They’re all quite young goalkeepers but so was Sam Walker when he first came here and look what he’s done and he’s still young for a keeper.

“And it’s been great to keep Luke Prosser here – he’s a senior pro with a very professional attitude in everything he does.

“He did very well when he came back from that long-term injury, in the second half of the season.”

Ashby says some of Colchester’s youngsters are likely to move out on loan, once McGreal’s first-team squad has been finalised.

U’s chairman Robbie Cowling announced last month that he is keen to see their talented academy players experience men’s football, with Kevin Horlock fielding a younger under-23 side in Professional Development League Two as a result.

Ashby added: “Once we realise who we think will be involved with the first team, the decisions on who might be going out on loan will happen fairly quickly, because we need to get them out to give them experience.

“If they don’t get that experience, it could hold them up.”