COLCHESTER United director of football Tony Humes believes they have a squad full of youth and experience following their summer recruitment.

The U's have had a busy summer in the transfer window, adding Jevani Brown, Paris Cowan-Hall, Luke Gambin, Michael Fernandes, Omar Sowunmi and Dean Gerken to the first-team squad.

Colchester have lost Sammie Szmodics, Frankie Kent, Brennan Dickenson and Mikael Mandron but Humes says they had made long-term plans to bring in replacements.

Humes, speaking at the club's annual Open Day yesterday, said: “I think the summer recruitment has been very positive, in terms of what we’ve managed to bring in.

“It’s always sad to lose players like Frankie Kent and Sammie Szmodics who have come through the system.

“But we wish them well at their respective clubs and hope that they can go on to something higher.

“In terms of replacing them, we always knew that there was going to be interest in Frankie and Sammie so we had targets from the January window.

“We were aware of the possibilities that we might need to bring in.

“Certainly in the forward areas, we’ve done really well in bringing in a player of the calibre of Jevani Brown, from Cambridge.

“He’s a player who I think can do really well for us and someone who can play at a higher level, so we’ve done a good bit of business bringing Jevani in.

“In Luke Gambin, we have a player who has international experience and quality.

“He can bring us something different.

“We’re also delighted to bring in a player of Paris’s (Cowan-Hall) calibre.

"He was delighted to come here and when you add to that to the other players we have, there’s a plethora of quality attacking players there.

“There’s also Michael Fernandes, who is young and untried at this level but is an exciting prospect who we think can do well for us.

“Then you’ve got Omar Sowunmi replacing Frankie (Kent).

“He’s a Colchester boy and he’s a fantastic size – again, he’s another one who can do well for us and push on.

“And with the goalkeeper Dean Gerken coming in, it’s a great signing for us.

“We have a squad full of youth and experience and we’re delighted to get him on board."

Meanwhile, Colchester are on the verge of appointing a new academy manager.

The U's have been looking for a replacement for Jon de Souza, who left the role earlier this summer to take over as the club's new Director of Performance.

Colchester also need to appoint new under-23 and under-18 coaches to replace Kevin Horlock and Chris Llewellyn respectively.

“The academy is an area where you develop good young coaches as well as players," added Humes.

“We recognise that sometimes it’s right for them and us to move on in their careers for different pastures.

“We’ve lost Kevin Horlock and Chris Llewellyn who are experienced professionals and we’re looking to replace them with a like type.

“We’re also looking to appoint a new academy manager, which we hope will be sorted in the next day or two after Jon De Souza moved over to the performance side of it.

“With the way that the club is structured, you can see that we’re developing young players and getting the opportunity to be successful and the club is an attractive proposition.”