COLCHESTER United have new signings in the pipeline – and says they will strive to replicate the kind of deals they pulled off, last summer.

The U’s held individual meetings with all of their first-team squad this week, with players offered contracts and others released by the club as they build for another League Two campaign.

Colchester, who are now preparing for a fourth season in League Two, know that there will be departures this summer.

But head coach John McGreal and his assistant Steve Ball, along with director of football Tony Humes, have drawn up a list of players they would like to sign.

And after splashing the cash on the likes of Harry Pell and Luke Norris last summer, McGreal is hoping to attract a similar calibre of signing this time around.

McGreal said: “We know what our budget is and we’re able to put ourselves out there and continue to perform at a really good level.

“We’d like to try and get in a couple of players like last year, where the recruitment was excellent.

“We’ve got to build on that and be even better than that, this year.

“We’re looking at everything but we did feel last year that we needed that experience coming in and it’s definitely helped.

“It goes without saying that the academy boys have improved and have really flourished with the arrival of the likes of Harry Pell, Frank Nouble and Luke Norris.

“That’s been a big part of the recruitment we had last summer and we’ll be looking for a similar ilk of player, this summer.

“We’re dealing with our own players at the minute with offering contracts and then the next stage will be highlighting individuals who we think will improve the club.

“We have players in the pipeline but it’s a case of ifs, buts and maybes.

“We said it last summer – we’re not going to bring in players who aren’t going to improve the club.

“The chairman (Robbie Cowling) invested last summer but it was all in line with our budget and that’s the big thing.”

McGreal says they ideally would like to add to their squad as soon as possible – but has stressed they made need to be patient in their pursuit of new faces.

“It’ll be nice to do business early but we’re not overly concerned,” added the U’s boss.

“We’ve obviously got names in the pipeline and stuff to see what we have available.

“We’ll take our time and I don’t want to be rushed to bring in players just for the sake of it.

“We’ve done that before with a couple of loans in the second season and it didn’t overly work.

“I think patience will be key.

“It’s going to be a bit different, this year - there’s only a handful of players who were out of contract this year and we’ve come to decisions.”