COLCHESTER United chairman Robbie Cowling says they felt 'significant changes' are required after parting company with head coach John McGreal.

The U's are now looking for a new first-team boss after informing McGreal that his services would no longer be required, after just over four years in the hot seat at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Cowling has revealed that they will be looking to ensure that the U's first team is more 'tightly aligned' with the academy, in which the U's chairman has invested considerably over the years.

And after meeting his fellow directors, the U's have decided that they now require a new man to take the club forward.

In a statement, Cowling said: "I spoke with John McGreal on Friday 3rd July to explain that the club is going to be implementing a new plan that will see the first team being even more tightly aligned to the Academy and that I along with my three other directors, (Tony Humes, Tony Ashby and Jon De Souza), felt a change of First Team Head Coach was required if our new direction was to be successfully implemented.

"This was a very tough decision for a number of reasons, but not least because John has been First Team Head Coach for the last four years.

"This last season has been one of the club’s best seasons for a number of years and John should be very proud of his time in charge of the first team.

"However, the club is not only facing a number of unprecedented challenges but also some unprecedented opportunities and myself and the other directors believe significant changes are required that will be best served with a new Head Coach.

"John has done a great job for Colchester United and I wish him well for his future."

McGreal, who has been linked with the vacant manager's job at his old club Tranmere Rovers, has departed after just over four years in charge of the U's.

He presided over more than 200 matches and this season, led the U's to a sixth-place finish in League Two this season and a quarter-final spot, in the Carabao Cup.

McGreal succeeded Kevin Keen in the JobServe Community Stadium hot seat on May 4, 2016.

He had worked at Colchester since 2009 in the U's academy set-up, prior to landing the top job.

The former Ipswich defender then followed in the footsteps of the likes of Joe Dunne and Tony Humes in making the step up from the club's academy coaching ranks, to become first-team manager.