Colchester United director of football Tony Humes has revealed the club have snubbed cash offers for some of their talented academy players from top-flight clubs.

The reputation of the U's youth set-up has been growing, helped by their impressive run in this season's Premier League Cup.

The likes of Cameron James, Tom Lapslie and Drey Wright are all home-grown players who have featured regularly in Colchester's first team in League Two over recent weeks, as they push for the play-offs.

And ahead of the U's under-16s showpiece game against Manchester City at the Weston Homes Community Stadium tonight (kick-off 7pm), Humes says the firm interest in their youngsters is a reflection of the strength of their academy.

Humes told the U's official matchday programme: "We're delighted to be welcoming Manchester City to the stadium and it will be a good test for our young players.

"Our Academy programme is becoming increasingly well regarded across the country and our desire to bring through top young talent is admired by clubs not only at Category Two level but also within Category One clubs.

"The players that we're bringing through are now attracting real attention from those clubs at the highest level and we have recently received but turned down monetary offers for our young players from Premier League and Championship clubs with Category One set-ups.

"That is testament to what we're doing here at the club and bodes well for the future of our Academy programme."

Colchester's under-16 clash with Manchester City tonight follows in the tradition of the club's showpiece academy games, over recent years.

It follows hot on the heels of games against the likes of Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur, at the Community Stadium.