All of the focus from John McGreal and his Colchester United players is currently placed on preserving their League Two play-off hopes.

But as they plan for the future, the U’s and specifically director of football Tony Humes will no doubt also have an eye on the summer, particularly given the high number of squad members who are out of contract at the end of the season.

Indeed, Colchester’s first-team squad may well have a very different look to it by the time they kick off the new 2018-19 campaign, whichever division that is in.

Staggeringly, a total of 16 contracted players who have had first-team experience at the U’s will see their current deals expire, once the existing campaign is over.

Of those players, four have already been offered new terms by the club – last season’s Player of the Year Brennan Dickenson, striker Kurtis Guthrie and home-grown pair Tom Lapslie and Drey Wright.

Those new contracts were offered back in August but are yet to be signed, with defender Frankie Kent the only player of the five offered to agree terms to stay at the Weston Homes Community Stadium for longer.

The quartet have all been regulars under head coach McGreal since he took over from Kevin Keen in the hot seat and he will no doubt be eager to keep them at the club for longer than this season, whichever division the U’s are playing in.

There are plenty of other players who have featured heavily under McGreal this season whose contracts are up for renewal, this summer.

Courtney Senior is one such squad member and the youngster’s stock has risen considerably since he returned to the first-team set-up after injury, in January.

The attacker’s performances have been excellent and he has now clocked up ten appearances in total this season, establishing himself as a regular starter for the U’s over recent weeks and contributing with both goals and assists.

At 20 years old, he is full of potential and there are bound to be some admiring glances from elsewhere, given his eye-catching performances of late.

Another key squad member Colchester will be eager to keep this summer is goalkeeper Sam Walker.

The popular shot-stopper has been the picture of consistency for the U’s and has not missed a league game since returning from a serious knee injury at the start of the 2016-17 season.

He has been in excellent form, throughout the current campaign and at 26, he is arguably yet to reach his prime as a goalkeeper and still has his best years in front of him.

Club captain Luke Prosser, who returned to the fray in January after a 15-month injury lay-off, midfielder Sean Murray, who has played nearly 150 league and cup games during his career and wing-back Kane Vincent-Young will also see their present deals expire in the summer.

So too will Scottish duo Denny Johnstone and Craig Slater, although it is unlikely that the pair have a future at the U’s after being loaned out to St Johnstone and Dundee United respectively.

Add to that the likes of Cole Kpekawa, Doug Loft and Tommy O’Sullivan and it is clear that they will be plenty of negotiations taking place in the coming months – and probably several departures.

Colchester will also lose loanees Ryan Inniss, Olamide Shodipo, Ben Stevenson and Liam Mandeville, who will all return to their respective parent clubs at the end of the campaign.

And with under-23 squad members Eli Phipps, Josh Pollard, Decarrey Sheriff, Callum Sturgess, Tarryn Allarakhia and goalkeeper Dominic Kurasik all due to see their deals expire too, the prospect of squad restructuring in the summer looks likely.

It is arguably difficult for Colchester to make much progress on tying down their out-of-contract players at present.

Their fate this season is still in the balance and will be while they still have a fighting chance of making the play-offs and ultimately achieving promotion.

But with agents no doubt making their moves and seeking to get the best deals for their clients as the season draws to a conclusion, the coming weeks will no doubt be crucial in determining whether or not the U’s can keep hold of the players they desire.

Colchester United players due to see their current deals expire at the end of the season (with first-team experience): Brennan Dickenson, Luke Prosser, Kurtis Guthrie, Cole Kpekawa, Tom Lapslie, Doug Loft, Sean Murray, Tommy O’Sullivan, Courtney Senior, Kane Vincent-Young, Sam Walker, Drey Wright, Denny Johnstone, Craig Slater, Eoin McKeown, Charley Edge, Diaz Wright.

Loans to expire: Ryan Inniss, Olamide Shodipo, Ben Stevenson, Liam Mandeville.

U’s under-23 players out of contract this summer: Dominic Kurasik, Eli Phipps, Josh Pollard, Decarrey Sheriff, Callum Sturgess, Tarryn Allarakhia.