NEW academy signings Tyrique Hyde and Percy Kiangebeni can use their senior experience to launch a challenge for a Colchester United first-team spot.

That is the view of U’s academy manager Jon De Souza, who feels the midfield pair’s recent involvement in National League football can stand them in good stead after they penned contracts until the summer of 2020 with the League Two club.

Hyde, 19, made seven first-team appearances for Dagenham and Redbridge, where he progressed through the youth system to sign his first professional deal in 2016.

And 21-year-old Kiangebeni clocked up 76 appearances for National League South side St Albans City playing under former U’s favourite Ian Allinson. before his contract was cancelled there last week.

De Souza said: “They both bring the experience of having played first-team football and that always helps when young players have that.

“We’re delighted to get them in.

“They are both players we’ve known about for a period of time.

“Tyrique played against us in the FA Youth Cup when Dagenham and Redbridge beat us and impressed when they knocked us out (in 2016).

“We’ve been monitoring him as we have Percy and it’s great to get them both in.

“Percy is 21 and we want to be pushing for the first team sooner rather than later.

“Tyrique is a bit younger 19 but we’d like to see him pushing for the first team, too.”

Hyde, the son of former Watford and Jamaica midfielder Micah, has also gained experience on loan at Whitehawk and Bishop’s Stortford.

And Kiangebeni played for Enfield Borough before leaving them to join St Albans, at the end of the 2016/17 season.

The midfielder joined Colchester two days after St Albans cancelled his contract, meaning that his new club did not have to pay a fee for his services.

“The way we work as a club helps us recruit and we will try and do that in any way we can,” added De Souza.

“We want to develop the best young players we can and will look as far and as wide as possible to do that.

“We’re a club that can provide young players opportunities and that’s a pull for anyone.”