Aidy bids to keep loan stars

COLCHESTER United boss Aidy Boothroyd is hoping to keep some of his loan stars when the January transfer window comes around.

Stuart Watson

By Stuart Watson

COLCHESTER United boss Aidy Boothroyd is hoping to keep some of his loan stars when the January transfer window comes around.

The loan deals for Kayode Odejayi (Barnsley), John-Joe O'Toole (Watford) and Josh Payne (West Ham) all expire within the next six weeks, while Ipswich Town have signalled their intent on calling Kevin Lisbie back from his season long loan switch in the New Year.

And while it looks unlikely that Payne will have his short-term move from the Hammers extended past next Thursday, Boothroyd says he will do everything he can to try and keep the others at the club in the longer term.

Striker Odejayi - who has scored six goals in 10 appearances at Colchester - will return to Barnsley on December 19 when his three-month loan deal comes to an end. That means the Nigerian will be unavailable for the U's Christmas games against Southend (December 26) and Southampton (December 28).

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Midfielder O'Toole will be available for those games - his deal expiring on December 31 - but Boothroyd is keen on keeping the duo for the second part of the season and possibly beyond.

He said: “As we get closer to January we'll look to extend their loan deals or sign them permanently because I think they have made the team and the squad stronger.

“We'll be working very hard to keep them here. I like them both as characters and players.”

But while the U's boss will have the option of extending the loan deals for both Odejayi and Toole until the end of the season - something he has already done with Wolves defender Danny Batth - he will not have that luxury with Lisbie.

Ipswich boss Roy Keane has said he will be calling the striker-turned-winger back in January with a view to selling him, meaning Colchester will have to enter a bidding war if they are to retain their leading goalscorer.

“It's been said that Kevin Lisbie will go back in January because people want to buy him and we can't do anything about that at the moment,” said Boothroyd.

“We've just to make sure we have a plan for if we have him and a plan for if we haven't. We're not a one-man team though and there are 20 other players here that will testify to that.”

Should Boothroyd land his loan stars for a longer period, it looks unlikely that there will be too many more new faces arriving in the January window.

“I once signed seven players in January and it was one of the worst things I could have done,” said Boothroyd.

“Although it is good to freshen things up, you also have to maintain that cohesiveness in the team. One or two can make a difference, but bringing a lot in is a complete waste of time.

“I'll have to look at our situation. We've all seen how tight this league is, but I don't want to be taking two buses to away games because we've got so many players.

“I have to balance the budget for one and I have to balance the team for the other.”

Selection shake-up afoot? Full Oldham v U's match preview in tomorrow's EADT.

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