Coyne set to leave U's

CHRIS Coyne looks certain to have played his last game for Colchester United.

Carl Marston

by Carl Marston

CHRIS Coyne looks certain to have played his last game for Colchester United.

The U's club skipper, who is currently away on international duty with Australia, has declared his intention to leave the Essex club this summer.

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Coyne still has two years left on his contract, and the U's have responded by stating that no agreement has yet been reached between the club and the defender over the cancellation of that deal.

However, the 30-year-old has been a restless figure at the Community Stadium over the last year, and so is looking for a fresh start elsewhere, maybe even back in his native Australia.

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“It's probably in my best interests to move on now,” insisted Coyne, who played the full 90 minutes in the Socceroos' goalless draw against Qatar over the weekend.

“Whether it's coming back home, playing in Asia or continuing in Europe, it's something that needs addressing.

“A new manager (Paul Lambert) comes in with new ideas, and he wants new players. The fact that I was going away regularly with the Australian camps was also an issue.

“It's something that might have been of detriment to the club, but it's not something that I would have swapped for anything,” added Coyne.

The Socceroos guaranteed their participation at next year's World Cup by securing a point against Qatar in Doha.

They will definitely finish in the top two of the Asian Qualifier Group A, and so Coyne looks set to appear in the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa, which would satisfy a burning ambition - he did not actually make his international debut until the age of 29 last summer.

Coyne also revealed to the Australian press that he would prefer to play for Perth Glory, if he was to return to the A-League.

His brother Jamie was captain of the Glory last term, while his father John is assistant coach at Football West Premier League side Perth SC. It is understood that Sydney FC are also interested in signing him.

On answering the question of his preferred destination, Coyne said: “In a perfect world, I'd say Perth, but the A-League in general would be great.

“I'd like to ply my trade in a country that's given me so much, and I can hopefully give something back.”

Coyne actually played for Perth SC before his successful move to England in 1996, which began with a stint at West Ham. He only made one appearance for the Hammers, before venturing north of the border to play for Dundee.

However, it was at Luton Town where he made a name for himself. He was inspirational in the heart of defence, helping the Hatters to win the League One title in 2004-05. He was also named in the PFA League One team of the season that campaign.

He arrived at Colchester for a then-club record fee of �350,000 in January, 2008, just as Luton had entered administration.

Coyne made 16 appearances for the U's during the second half of the 2007-08 season, which ended in relegation from the Championship, but he was in-and-out of the side last term, due to international commitments, injuries and a loss of form. He made 19 league appearances, scattered over the campaign.

Despite his recent claim that he wants to leave the U's, there is no guarantee that he will be on his way, as U's Chief Executive Steve Bradshaw confirmed in an official statement.

“As with all the players, there was a meeting with the manager (Lambert) at the end of the season, and Chris (Coyne) probably hasn't played as many games as he would have liked over the past year,” said Bradshaw.

“However, there is no agreement in place to let him cancel his contract with the club.

“It seems at this moment, he has concerns over his future and how regularly he is playing. Therefore, all parties involved will be having further discussions to clarify Chris' situation,” added Bradshaw.

Lambert admitted, towards the end of last season, that he wanted to make wholesale changes to the squad. The departure of Coyne would fit in with these plans.

To date, front-runner Ashley Vincent (on loan last season) and midfielder David Fox (from Blackpool) have been added to the U's playing staff, while keeper Mark Cousins has signed a new two-year contract.

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