HARRY Pell admits his exit from Colchester United is probably the best outcome for both him and the club.

The 29-year-old, who was due to be out of contract at the U’s this summer, has signed for League One side Accrington Stanley on a three-year deal after leaving the JobServe Community Stadium.

Pell made nearly 100 league and cup appearances for Colchester after joining them from Cheltenham Town in 2018 and captained the side, this season.

But in part one of our interview with the combative midfielder, he admits he has not enjoyed what has been a testing 2020-21 campaign for the U’s – one that he says left him questioning himself.

Pell said: “It’s been really, really tough this last year.

“It’s probably best for the club and for myself that I have moved on.

“I feel like the club knew that I was going to go - I think the club probably knew for a couple of months.

“I feel like I was always going to end up leaving, at the end of this season.

“I had two amazing first seasons at Colchester and I was the first one in and the last one out of the training ground, probably every day.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the company I was with and I enjoyed everything about the club.

“The last year with Covid probably hasn’t helped that cause because you weren’t allowed in the changing room and things like that and I’ve just not enjoyed my football anywhere near as much as I was used to, the previous two years.

“I felt we were heading in the right direction when I signed the contract where I wanted to be and I really wanted to do that for the fans, to get this club back in League One – that was my main objective after signing a three-year contract.

“But over the last year, I’ve really questioned myself and I need to be happy playing football.

“I’m hitting my prime now and I need to be in a team where I feel like I’m getting the best out of myself in an environment I really want to be in and it’s not been enjoyable for me, if I’m being honest.”

Pell played his part in helping Colchester challenge for the play-offs in his opening two seasons with the club under John McGreal.

They just missed out on a top-seven finish in his first year at the U’s before in the following campaign, the popular midfielder helped them clinch a play-off spot only for them to lose out to Exeter City in the semi-finals.

“If I look back on my time here, I’ve had some amazing memories but I’ve failed in what I’ve wanted to do,” said Pell.

“In those first two years, I generally thought we were almost there and maybe we should have gone up in those two years.

“If I’m completely honest, I think the first year was the better team of the two years, by a country mile.

“There were just some fantastic relationships off the field and it literally led itself, off the field.

“We got into the play-offs in the second year but it wasn’t to be.

“I was so used to dealing with very good people over the two years and then those kind of characters went and it turned really tough.

“The club are definitely taking the right approach by having a mass clearout because it’s definitely what’s needed for the club to move forward and progress.

“I don’t have one bad word to say about the club – I think everyone knows how the club is run.

“I just think the whole process has run its course.”