Colchester United duo Sammie Szmodics and Frankie Kent are the subject of bids from Peterborough United

FOR Colchester United fans, the news earlier this week that the club had accepted a bid from Peterborough United for two of their key players Sammie Szmodics and Frankie Kent was about as welcome as an away goal at the JobServe Community Stadium.

That is quite understandable; after all, they are two young players of undoubted talent who the U’s can rightly class as two of their own.

Players come and go on a frequent basis in modern-day football.

But few things tug on supporters’ heartstrings more than the departure of home-grown players whom they have seen blossom in the way that Szmodics and Kent have at Colchester.

Having risen up together through the youth set-up at Florence Park the pair have flourished under the guidance of John McGreal, making their affinity with their fans even stronger.

That bond is perhaps especially evident in the case of Szmodics, who was born and raised in Colchester and has been at the club since he was seven years old.

It would undoubtedly be a wrench for the U’s to lose them, this summer.

And in the short term, it is clearly important that McGreal is backed with the right players to take their place in the squad, should they depart.

But surely few would begrudge them the opportunity to show off their skills at a higher level.

And perhaps their departure is an inevitable part of the Colchester United model.

For a number of years, the philosophy of the club has been to provide a pathway for youngsters from academy to first-team level.

The aim is to give opportunities for home-grown talent to prosper – with the possibility of them eventually moving on to play at a higher level after playing 100 games or more for the U's.

And in order for the U’s reputation to further flourish as a club that provides a chance for young players, the likes of Szmodics and Kent may well have to move on.

To lose the duo this summer would undoubtedly be a blow for Colchester and not least for boss John McGreal, who has coached the pair from academy right through to senior level.

The pair were excellent for the U's last season, with Szmodics finishing as top scorer and Kent landing the club's Player of the Year award.

But if they do indeed leave, the key will be for the U’s to recruit their replacements wisely, while at the same time offering a new batch of their young academy players the chance to shine on a more senior stage.

That will be the aim of chairman Robbie Cowling, who had warned only a few months ago that this scenario might unfold.

It will not easy for Colchester fans to see two of the club’s talented home-grown players leave for pastures new.

But given their potential and talent, their departure for a higher-placed club is not exactly a surprise.

And while it might be difficult to hear right now, in the long term it can be of benefit to Colchester United.

Saying goodbye will be tough but the U's long-term prosperity is key.