Cousins agrees new deal

MARK Cousins has agreed terms for a new contract at Colchester United and will be putting pen to paper in the next few days.

Carl Marston

MARK Cousins has agreed terms for a new contract at Colchester United and will be putting pen to paper in the next few days.

Former youth team keeper Cousins broke into the U's senior team last season, playing 13 games, and now he is looking forward to renewing his rivalry with Dean Gerken for the new campaign.

“It's all sorted out. I'm going to sign and it's just been a case of ironing out a few details,” revealed Cousins last night.

“I'm delighted that my future is all sorted out. I enjoyed last season, and Colchester is great club to pursue your career.

“Hopefully, there will be plenty of opportunities for me to play next season. I think it's going to be a big season for me, and a big season for the club, because we'll be going for promotion.

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“Deano (Dean Gerken) is still under contract, so we should be contesting the No. 1 spot again,” added Cousins, who had not started a senior game before last season.

The 22-year-old Chelmsford-born custodian had appeared as a substitute during the 2007-08 relegation campaign from the Championship, but his first start was not until last September, when he kept a clean-sheet in a Johnstone's Paint Trophy victory at Millwall.

Manager Paul Lambert rewarded him with a run of eight games on the bounce during March and early April. The highlights were two clean-sheets in 1-0 wins at Oldham and Millwall, and also an impressive outing in a 1-1 draw at champions-elect Leicester City.

Now Cousins wants to stake his claim for regular football as the U's look to improve on last season's disappointing 12th position in League One.

“Deano was injured for a couple of weeks in the last pre-season, so I enjoyed some action, and hopefully I will get my chances again this summer,” said Cousins.

“We have some big games in League One, with teams like Charlton, Norwich and Southampton having come down, but there are also some big games in pre-season.

“I'd love to play against Aston Villa, and of course at Ipswich for Fabian Wilnis' Testimonial.”

Even though the U's last game was a 2-0 win at Yeovil on May 2, this last month has not been plain sailing for Lambert's men.

Cousins continued: “The season finished so early, at the start of May, that the manager (Lambert) decided to keep us training throughout this month, to build up our core strength. He didn't just want us to have eight weeks completely off; that would have been too long.

“And I'm really feeling the benefit, as are the rest of the lads. We have been reporting for training three days a week, on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays, to mainly do weights.

“I think this will help us all for next season. Our last session is Friday (today), after which we will all go away with our own individual programmes to follow during June,” concluded Cousins.

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