Bowditch rejected U’s – but Cowling remains upbeat
NEW MK Dons signing Dean Bowditch did reject an offer to join Colchester United – but owner Robbie Cowling has assured U’s fans that there is still plenty of time to land a much-needed goalscorer.
Having top-scored for Yeovil in each of his two seasons at Huish Park, with 10 and 15 goals respectively, former Ipswich Town striker Bowditch turned down the offer of extending his contract at the League One club this summer.
The recently-turned 25-year-old was not short of offers and, after taking his time to consider his options, yesterday he signed for defeated play-off semi-finalists MK Dons.
U’s owner and chairman Cowling has revealed, exclusively to the EADT, that Bowditch was indeed one of the two, previously unnamed, out-of-contract strikers the club offered deals to early in the close season.
He did, however, also confirm that the other player is not Ashley Grimes after he yesterday signed for League One side Rochdale following his release by Championship club Millwall. The U’s had been linked with the 24-year-old after he scored 16 goals on loan at relegated League Two side Lincoln City last season.
And, while disappointed to miss out on one target, Cowling remains fully confident that he can deliver manager John Ward a proven goalscorer to bulk up a severely depleted front line which currently consists of just Steven Gillespie and Kayode Odejayi.
“We put an offer in for Dean a long time ago, before he scored against us towards the end of the season actually, and he came to the club to have a look around,” said Cowling.
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“We’re disappointed we’ve not managed to get him, but at the same time I’m not too concerned.
“We have a long list of players we are equally interested in, there are lots of players available out there and there is still plenty of time.
“Sometimes when you miss out on someone you can end up with something better. Look at the situation with Aden Flint last season, he rejected us to go to Swindon (from Alfreton) and has hardly set the world alight. Instead, we’ve signed Tom Eastman who I’m really excited about.
“We’re still waiting to hear back from the other striker who we have put an offer in to – I won’t name their name, but it wasn’t Ashley Grimes – and we also have a few loan deals that we are ready to move on once it’s clearer how squads are shaping up.”
FIVE POTENTIAL COLCHESTER STRIKER TARGETS
A fans’ favourite at the U’s following two successful spells at the club. Available on a free having been released by Ipswich. Millwall – the club where he scored four goals last season – are still deciding whether to make a move. Colchester boss John Ward hasn’t been in touch but says the 32-year-old ‘does tick all the right boxes’.
The Irishman top-scored for Colchester last season with 12 in all competitions. Five of them came from the penalty spot though – and just one away – so he is by no means prolific in front of goal.
The crafty link-up man is available on a free having been released by Reading but is looking for another chance to prove himnself in the Championship. Ward has confirmed he is interested, but is yet to get in touch.
Another former U’s player available on a free. The 37-year-old showed he can still do a job in League One with 20 goals for Exeter City last season and is yet to commit to a new deal there.
The Bristolian memorably scored 23 goals in Colchester’s first season in the Championship but then left on bad terms that summer, joining Norwich after putting in a transfer request. A return to the Essex club would certainly split the opinion of supporters.
The promising 19-year-old Ipswich striker could be allowed to leave on loan after Paul Jewell took his number of strikers at the Championship club to six yesterday with the addition of Nathan Ellington. The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international made 13 appearances for the Blues last season and impressed during a loan spell at League Two side Torquay.
The 6ft 5ins target man was a target of John Ward’s this time last year but chose to stay at League Two side Aldershot in an attempt to get them promoted. Season didn’t work out the way he planned though as the Shots finished 14th and he was transfer listed after an ill-judged twitter outburst. Finished the season on loan at Dagenham & Redbridge and is now a free agent.