Richard Hall expects Colchester United’s talented youngsters to reap the benefits of having a full fixture programme to adhere to this season.

The U’s under-21 are preparing for life back in the Professional Development League Two, after their academy got the official thumbs up for Category Two status.

Colchester kick off their new season with a trip to play Sheffield United, on Wednesday, August 20.

And they follow that up with a game at Crystal Palace (August 26) and a home meeting with Nottingham Forest (September 1).

Colchester will also come up against the likes of Queens Park Rangers, Swansea City and Leeds United, this season.

U’s development coach Hall said: “It’s fantastic that we’ve got a full programme of fixtures to look forward to."

For more on this story and all of the latest Colchester United news, see Wednesday's Daily Gazette.