Andy Bond looks forward to Bournemouth, and beyond

ANDY Bond could well be one of the most experienced players on Colchester United’s books, by the start of next season.

The 26-year-old ex-Barrow midfielder still has two years left on his current contract, whereas many of his team-mates, including the likes of keeper Ben Williams, defenders Matt Heath and Magnus Okuonghae, midfielder John-Joe O’Toole and strikers Kayode Odejayi and Ashley Vincent, all have deals that run out this summer.

The U’s need to reduce their wage bill, in line with the new Football League rules coming in – only 65% of income to be spent on players’ salaries – so Bond could be a key man for the U’s next term.

However, he believes that the summer move to the new training ground complex at Tiptree will work in the club’s favour.

“The new training ground is looking unbelievable,” enthused Bond on the eve of today’s game at Bournemouth.

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“Once we get in there, we will be fine. I think it will attract new players to sign, and it’s going to be a big plus for the club.

“The garrison is not the best place to train, but you have to deal with it.”

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The U’s finished 10th in the table last season, and Bond is looking to match that effort – the 10th-placed U’s are a distant nine points adrift of ninth-placed Brentford, with just three games to play, so 10th remains the realistic target.

Bond continued: “I don’t think we are finishing where we want to be, but with three games to go we want three wins to finish as high as last season.

“There’s been a lot of big teams in this league, and there’s only been that one place up for grabs (in the top six) over the last month or two.

“I think with eight games to go we still had a good chance of getting that spot. But drawing at home to Huddersfield killed us a little bit, because they scored late on (in a 1-1 draw).

“We’ve got a solid base, and we are a difficult team to beat, but I think we’ve got to push on and improve.

“The squad is very good, and hopefully we can keep the base of the team for next season and push on.

“I think there are 10 or so players out of contract. The gaffer has spoken to most of them, if not all of them, and I hope we can keep the main players.

“We want to be better than top 10. Our realistic aim is top six, but it’s going to be tough next season because of all the new rules coming in. I guess we’ll just have to see what happens.

“It’s going to be good for the younger lads who have signed new deals, but we need to keep the more experienced lads to help the younger ones come through,” concluded Bond.”

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