Colchester won’t be signing Westlake

COLCHESTER United will not be signing former Ipswich Town midfielder Ian Westlake but are likely to take another look at two of the four trailists that featured for their reserve team on Tuesday night.

Clacton-born Westlake, 27, has been training with the U’s having been released by League Two club Wycombe Wanderers earlier this month.

However, manager John Ward was quick to stress that the arrangement is purely a mutually beneficially short-term one after Westlake played just over an hour for the second string in a 0-0 draw with Essex rivals Southend United this week.

“We’re not looking to sign Ian and he’s not looking to sign for us,” said the U’s boss. “We’re helping him stay fit while he looks for another club and he’s a good senior professional to have around our younger players.

“He only played for the reserve team because I’m trying to protect my first team players for the final run of matches.”

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Four teenage players arrived at Colchester on trial from Premier League and Championship Academies at the start of the week after development coach Richard Hall had written to numerous clubs asking if the U’s could take a look at some young players that were likely to be released this summer.

Defenders Zaine Francis-Angol (17) and Olumide Durojaiye (18) have both come through the ranks at Tottenham, while strikers Matthew Reece (17) and Jonathan Birbeck (18) are from Fulham and Leeds respectively. All trained with Colchester on Monday before starting the following day’s reserve match.

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“I saw the game and was pleased with the response from them,” said Ward. “I think we’ll probably look at a couple of them again when the reserves play Watford next Monday. We’ve got one more reserve team fixture after that against Luton and might arrange one or two more as we continue to look at some players for the future.”

– All the latest news ahead of Colchester’s trip to Sheffield Wednesday in tomorrow’s EADT.

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