TOMMY Smith says he is excited by the ambition of chairman Robbie Cowling after signing a contract extension with Colchester United.

The 31-year-old defender had a year left on his old deal but has now extended his stay at the JobServe Community Stadium to at least the summer of 2023.

It was a testing season for the U's last season as they battled to remain in League Two.

But with seven new signings arriving, the majority of whom are seasoned professionals, experienced centre-back Smith is looking forward to challenging at the right end of the table.

Smith told Col U TV: "I'm delighted to have it done and be committed to the club for another two years.

"It was always something I wanted to look to do.

"It was obviously a difficult season, last year but I know that the things that the chairman and the owner wants to do with the club and it excites me 

"Last season is parked now; we don't want to be there again and we have ambitions to be pushing towards that top seven this season and this is the start of that journey.

"The new signings bring the experience that we've perhaps lacked throughout the squad last year and that's going to do wonders for the younger players like Noah (Chilvers), Brendan (Wiredu) and Clamps (Ryan Clampin) to work with them and help them progress.


"It's brilliant to have them through the door and they're going to bring that professionalism that perhaps we lacked at times, last season day in, day out.

"That will stand us in good stead and hopefully, it'll be a successful season for us.

"It's important to have leaders and experienced pros in the building to show the younger lads what it takes to sustain a career in football.

"Look at Chambo (Luke Chambers) and Skusey (Cole Skuse) for example - I think Chambo has played over 700 games and Skusey around 600, so for the experience that they can lend to the younger players is going to be vital in their development.

"But they're not just there for that.

"They are still very good players in their own right and they will bring that competitiveness and experience and leadership that we need to be successful."

No player represented Colchester more than Smith, last season.

The New Zealand international - along with defensive partner Tom Eastman - started all but one of the U's 46 league games, last season.

"You want to be out there for every single game, because you never know when it might be your last one," added Smith.

"I try to approach that in every training session and game I play and it will be no different, this season."