Colchester United comment: key two days in the transfer market
PUBLISHED: 14:42 29 January 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Colchester United face a key next couple of days, even though they won't be kicking a ball in anger.
And top of the agenda will be the future of leading scorer Sammie Szmodics – will the 23-year-old attacker still be at the Essex club by the end of this month’s transfer window?
John McGreal’s men have dropped out of the play-off zone, following back-to-back league defeats for the first time this campaign, at home to Mansfield (2-3 the previous weekend) and away at Crewe (2-1) last Saturday.
They are still only one place and one point adrift of the top seven, despite a lean spell of just one win in seven fixtures since their eye-catching 1-0 success at MK Dons before Christmas, but they are in danger of letting all the good work of the first half of the season go to waste.
Much could depend on what happens over the next 48 hours or so, in the transfer market, before the window jams shut on Thursday evening.
McGreal has admitted that “one or two” of his players are the subject of interest from ‘bigger’ clubs, perched either in the Championship or the higher echelons of League One.
Szmodics was the subject of much transfer speculation during the last January transfer window, with a much-hyped potential move to Premier League club Bournemouth for a £1m fee eventually petering out.
Since then, Szmodics has regained his scoring touch, and has currently rattled up 10 goals this term, the 10th of them with the opener in last Saturday’s defeat at Gresty Road.
Operating in the No. 10 role, behind the target man – Luke Norris, Mikael Mandron or Frank Nouble – Szmodics has continued to impress in the fourth tier.
If he does leave over the next couple of days, then it is vital that the U’s recruit at least one new attacking player, especially as ex-loanee Aaron Collins returned to Wolves, his parent club, at the start of the month with no replacement as yet secured.
Norris, the second top scorer with eight goals, looks likely to sit out a few more weeks with his injured ankle, so the U’s goal-scoring options would be limited with the departure of Szmodics.
At the other end of the pitch, Frankie Kent, like Szmodics a product of the U’s Academy, is another who could interest clubs over the next two days.