Barker now with U's

TODAY'S visit to QPR would have been Chris Barker's last game in a Colchester United shirt, until he put pen to paper on an extension to his original loan deal over the weekend.

By Carl Marston

TODAY'S visit to QPR would have been Chris Barker's last game in a Colchester United shirt, until he put pen to paper on an extension to his original loan deal over the weekend.

Barker wanted to sign a permanent contract with the U's, but instead the Cardiff City 26-year-old has agreed to stay on loan at Layer Road for the rest of the season.

That's good news for United. Left-back Barker has been a model of consistency since his move from Ninian Park in mid-August, and he's looking to continue that solid form at Loftus Road this afternoon.


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“I'm very happy to still be playing for Colchester United. I didn't want to go back to playing reserve football at Cardiff,” insisted Barker.

“There was talk of me signing full-time, but it just didn't work out that way. I'm glad to have the next best thing, which is an extension to my loan deal. I'm loving it at Colchester and I'm looking forward to the next four or five months.

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“It's a fantastic record to have won our last 11 home games, but now we want to take that home form into our away games. If we can do that, then we'll be pushing for the top two!

“We gave Luton too many chances in our previous home game (4-1 win), but we were better defensively against Wolves. We worked on that in training.

“We are always likely to score at the other end. We've scored a lot of early goals this season, putting the opposition under pressure, and we'll be looking to do the same at QPR,” added Barker.

By extending Barker's loan deal before the January transfer window opened, and before his old package ended, meant that the loan will now be one continuous deal, rather than using up a second loan.

Manager Geraint Williams revealed: “Chris (Barker) is not in Dave Jones' plans at Cardiff, so we have been able to extend the loan.

“Chris is still under contract at Cardiff for 18 months, which made it difficult to agree a permanent deal. A fee would have been involved, which we would have been happy to pay, but the terms of his Cardiff contract were a factor.

“However, it's great for us to have Chris at the club for the whole season,” added Williams.

The U's will be gunning for only their third away win of the season, when they begin 2007 with a short trip to Loftus Road. They will also be eying up a first league double of the season.

Rangers have lost seven of their last eight games, and John Gregory's men are desperate for the points to steer clear of the relegation zone. Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Norwich City leaves them just three points ahead of third-from-bottom Hull City.

Gregory said: “Results have been very generous to us, but that can't continue forever. We have to start getting points ourselves.”

Chris Iwelumo is the one doubt for the U's. The influential target man was replaced after the hour mark against Wolves, because of a sore knee. He is yet to miss a league game since his arrival at Layer Road 18 months ago.

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