DEPARTING Colchester United skipper Luke Prosser is "more than confident" the club can enjoy success next season.

The 32-year-old discovered in April that he would not be retained by the League Two club, when his contract expired last month.

Frank Nouble, Ryan Jackson and Brandon Comley received the same news as the U's attempt to deal with the financial repercussions of the covid-19 crisis.

Prosser admitted being ‘shocked and surprised’ at the time but wishes nothing but success for his former club and has thanked them for an enjoyable stay.

"I'm more than confident that next season can be just as positive for you all and, hopefully, it will end in promotion to League One," he told the U's website.

"It’s a great squad of players with some good up-and-coming youngsters who would have learnt a great deal last season, especially with the play-offs and cup run.

"That will only help them in their development and hopefully next season will be a big year for some.

"I wish all the lads the very best of luck in achieving promotion next season."

Prosser admitted that he enjoyed 'every minute' of his time at Colchester, having joined from Essex rivals Southend United in 2016.

He thanks chairman Robbie Cowling and the U's management for making him so welcome at the JobServe Community Stadium.

He said: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at the club for all they have done for me in the past four years.

"It’s a fantastic club with some great people and I've loved every minute of my time here.

"Unfortunately, it wasn't quite the dream ending that I'd hoped for but, nevertheless, I'm extremely proud of what we achieved as a team and a club last season.​

"We gave it absolutely everything over the two legs against a very good Exeter City side but promotion wasn't meant to be this season.

"A huge thanks goes to the gaffer (former head coach John McGreal) and (assistant boss) Steve Ball for bringing me to the football club four years ago.

"I know the gaffer has recently departed but I can’t speak highly enough of him as a manager and a person.

"I have no doubt he will go on and have a great career in management.

"The gaffer gave me the honour of being your club captain upon my arrival and that was an extremely proud moment for myself and my family.

"It’s something I always wanted to achieve in my playing career and I'll be forever grateful to have been given that opportunity.

"This season, we obviously had the disappointment with our exit from the play-offs but the cup run we all experienced together was incredible.

"For myself to lead the team and the club out at Old Trafford against a full-strength Manchester United side will be something I'll never forget.

"It was an amazing experience for us all and an unbelievable night for you fans.

"For a League Two side to make the quarter-finals is an unbelievable achievement and I'm extremely proud of all the boys and to have experienced that journey with them all.

"Every year we formed a great team spirit amongst us all, which definitely made my job as captain a lot easier.

"I've also certainly made some friends for life, which is not too common in football."

Prosser also had special words of thanks for the Colchester fans.

"I can't thank you enough for welcoming me into your club," he said.

"I'm sure a lot of you had your doubts, especially with me joining from Southend.

"But from minute one, you've all been fantastic to me as your captain and I really appreciate that.

"The support I've seen from you all home and away in the last four years is unbelievable and some of the best I've seen - and you really do help make a difference when we are on the pitch. So keep that up.

"Hopefully, we can all cross paths at some point next season.

"Thanks again, it’s been a pleasure playing for the club the last four years and I wish you all the best for next season and the future."

Meanwhile, League One side Lincoln City have signed goalkeeper Ethan Ross from Colchester on a one-year deal.

The 23-year-old, previously a youth player at Cambridge United and Arsenal before moving on to West Bromwich Albion, made just eight appearances in two seasons with the U's.

"I'm looking forward to kicking on and working really hard," said Ross.

"I felt like a fresh start was something I needed."

Elsewhere, it has been confirmed that Colchester will begin their League Two campaign on the second weekend in September (Saturday, September 12).

The 2020/21 season will conclude on May 8 and 9, 2021, with the play-off finals reverting back to the spring Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May.