Chilvers mulling over contract

COLCHESTER's Liam Chilvers is mulling over the offer of a new contract, although he is unlikely to make a final decision until after the new manager is unveiled.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER's Liam Chilvers is mulling over the offer of a new contract, although he is unlikely to make a final decision until after the new manager is unveiled.

Talented centre-half Chilvers is the one U's senior player currently out of contract after his last deal expired on July 1.

The former Arsenal trainee has ambitions to return to the Premiership scene one day, having already enjoyed a couple of excellent years at Layer Road. But the 23-year-old could well stay with Colchester and so establish himself as a Championship player.

The U's are in the process of interviewing candidates for the vacant manager's post following the departure of Phil Parkinson to Championship rivals Hull City.

Chilvers explained last night: “Discussions over a new contract are ongoing, although it might not be sorted out until after a new manager is in place.

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“It's not a worry, but you never know who's going to come in. I have been offered a new contract and there's a good chance that I could still be at Layer Road for the new season.

“Winning promotion to the Championship was a big plus for everyone. Obviously the club is in a state of limbo at the moment, with no manager, although there's no bad feelings between the players and Phil Parkinson.

“You can't really stop someone wanting to move on and improve themselves, whether they be a player or a manager. Phil brought some good players to the club and he's left a strong legacy.

“Everyone wants to play in the Premiership, and the Championship represents a step closer to that goal.

“I've had one or two offers from other clubs, although nothing concrete. Hopefully, the managerial situation at Colchester will be sorted out within the next week or two.

“I'm back training with the lads. Pre-season is underway and although it's an unsettling time everyone is still positive.”

After two initial loan spells at Layer Road, during his days at Arsenal, Chilvers arrived on a permanent deal for the start of the 2004-05 campaign. Last term, Chilvers only missed two league games before the turn of the year. He was then sidelined by a double hernia problem for a couple of months, before returning to help wrap up the U's promotion from League One.

Meanwhile, Colchester yesterday announced that seven of their youth team players have signed professional contracts for next season.

Midfielder Robbie King and striker Jamie Guy, who have already made their first-team debuts, head the list. Highly-rated keeper Mark Cousins and defender Matt Paine, who have both been unused substitutes for the senior side, have also penned professional contracts.

The other three teenagers to sign are striker Craig Hughes, defender Liam Bailey and winger David Wareham.

U's Chief Executive Marie Partner confirmed: “The club made the commitment to sign these lads up at the end of last season, following their excellent achievements with the youth team.”

Colchester's pre-season campaign begins with an away match at Heybridge Swifts tomorrow, (kick-off 3pm).

The U's full pre-season fixture list is as follows: Heybridge Swifts (away, Saturday, July 15, 3pm), AFC Sudbury (away, Tuesday, July 18, 7.45pm), Tiptree United (away, Wednesday, July 19, 7.45pm), Bournemouth (away, Saturday, July 22, 3pm), Brighton & Hove Albion (home, Tuesday, July 25, 7.45pm), Woodbridge Town (away, Wednesday, July 26, 7.45pm), Leyton Orient (home, Saturday, July 29, 3pm), Cheltenham Town Reserves (home, Tuesday, August 1, 7pm, Pontins Holidays Combination League Cup Final).

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