Colchester United boss Joe Dunne predicts a ‘slow summer’ ahead

Mark Cousins. one of Colchester United's out-of-contract players who is mulling over a new deal

Mark Cousins. one of Colchester United's out-of-contract players who is mulling over a new deal - Credit: Andrew Partridge

Colchester United boss, Joe Dunne, is prepared to play a waiting game as several of his out-of-contract players weigh up their options.

In fact, the Dubliner is ready for a long summer ahead, trying to bolster his squad for next season.

Back-up keeper Mark Cousins, left-back Ryan Dickson, attacker Dominic Vose and midfielder David Wright have all been offered new deals.

All four are out of contract this summer, and Dunne would like all four to stay, although he is well aware that they will also be looking elsewhere for better deals.

Speaking last night, Dunne revealed: “I spoke to all of them (out-of-contract players) last Friday, and it’s now a case of letting things develop.

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“I fully understand that they will be looking to get the best deals possible, which includes looking at other clubs.

“There is no rush. I think the retain lists (notification of players being kept and those out of contract) are out on Saturday, but I’m not looking at that as a deadline. I think it’s going to be a real, slow summer ahead.

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“I understand it’s a difficult situation, in the financial market, where there will be other clubs able to pay players more than we can.

“When those situations arise, you have a decision to make.”

Cousins, a product of the U’s Academy, did not feature at all last season – No. 1 choice keeper Sam Walker was ever-present.

Dickson played 35 games in his first season with the U’s, since his switch from Southampton last summer on a one-year deal, although he was dogged by illness for much of the first half of the campaign.

Ex-West Ham trainee Vose was on a short-term deal last season, while ex-Ipswich Town stalwart Wright’s 18-month deal expires this month.

Dunne is also hopeful that defender Alex Wynter, who had a successful loan spell from Crystal Palace last term, could return to the Essex club for next season.

Skipper and right-back Brian Wilson’s departure – he has already turned down the offer of a new contract – and the uncertainty surrounding left-back Dickson’s future means that Dunne will certainly need to strengthen in the full-back department.

Dunne continued: “The two full-back positions, we’ve got young players in those positions at this moment in time, and those will be areas where we will need to trigger things.

“Ryan (Dickson) knows where he stands, and his representatives know where he stands. Ryan has a decision to make, and I can understand why or why not he might stay. It’s up to him. It’s an early part of the process.

“I feel we’ve got the core of a good young squad who can get us results in this league.

“Although we only finished 16th last season, we can still turn it around and we will be looking to turn those draws into wins next season.”

Dunne is predicting a glut of players to be available in the transfer market over the coming weeks.

“What I think you will see, over the next few weeks, is a torrential downpour of players,” insisted Dunne.

“Then it’s going to be down to the players to decide what they want to do.”

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