Robbie Cowling says there is still cash available for Colchester United to bring in new players, this summer.

But the U’s chairman has warned that they only want to recruit “quality” players to the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Colchester look set to sign left-back Cole Kpekawa from Championship side Barnsley to bolster their defensive options ahead of the new season and have also been linked with striker Dexter Blackstock.

And speaking at the U’s annual Open Day yesterday, Cowling said there is money in the budget to bolster their squad.

Cowling said: “We still have business to do and have money available to do it but we’ll only bring in people if they are quality players.

“And it’s also important to keep some of the money to renegotiate with some of the young players we’ve got, to keep them under contract with the club.”

Cowling dismissed as “fake news” speculation linking Colchester with a move for striker Blackstock, who was released by Rotherham United last week.

“It’s paper talk – there’s no been no discussion at all between the club and the representatives,” he said.

Cowling also revealed that Colchester could target more players from Scotland, following the arrival of Craig Slater and Denny Johnstone last summer.

He said: “In terms of players in Scotland, I think there’s good value for money in the Scottish League.

“The money in England is very competitive for what players are being paid and there are some very talented players north of the border.

“We’ve been very pleased with Craig Slater and Denny Johnstone and their attitude – they’ve been top class.”

Colchester are closing in on the signature of Kpekawa, who spent two months on loan spell at the U’s from QPR during the 2014/15 season, making six appearances.

The U’s have been on the lookout for a new left-sided player, with Brennan Dickenson sidelined until next year due to injury and Matt Briggs departing at the end of last season.

Meanwhile, Cowling believes Colchester supporters can be “very optimistic” about the forthcoming League Two season.

The U’s kick-off their new campaign in less than three weeks’ time at Accrington Stanley, looking to secure at least a play-off place.

Cowling added: “Without the injuries last year, we’d have got into the play-offs and I think that we should take that into next season.

“I think that we can be very optimistic.

“Season-ticket sales are good and are slightly better this year, so I’d like to say thank you to you for coming to support us – we’re grateful for that.

Thousands of people attracted Colchester’s Open Day, where fans were able to meet the club’s players and management ahead of the new season and the squad held a training session on the Community Stadium pitch.