Double blow for Lambert

COLCHESTER United are bracing themselves for a double departure, with two of their most experienced players on the brink of leaving.

Carl Marston

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United are bracing themselves for a double departure, with two of their most experienced players on the brink of leaving.

Star winger Mark Yeates is earmarked to start next season at Championship club Middlesbrough, after the two clubs agreed a fee for the Irishman, believed to be in the region of �500,000.

And want-away club captain Chris Coyne looks poised to sign a three-year deal with Australian A-League side Perth Glory. Coyne still has two years to run on his contract at the Community Stadium, but is keen to move from the U's.

The loss of Yeates will be a big blow for United, a fact that manager Paul Lambert is quick to stress.

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Lambert said: “I'd like to hold onto Mark. He's an exciting player, but in the end money will decide what happens.

“He would definitely leave a hole. You never like to see your best players leave.”

Yeates was a class act in a struggling side last season, producing some dazzling wing play on both flanks and also top scoring with 12 goals.

But the ex-Tottenham wide man was always likely to use Colchester as a stepping stone towards signing for a “bigger” club. He had been poised to join Crystal Palace last July, only to fail a medical on a damaged shoulder, and this summer 'Boro have had competition from Bristol City, Palace and Sheffield United to obtain his signature.

Yeates was on Teeside yesterday, to discuss personal terms and also have a medical at the club's Rockliffe Park training headquarters, so the deal could be done and dusted by the weekend.

'Boro boss Gareth Southgate said: “We have been in negotiations with Colchester and we feel we are close to being able to do some sort of a deal there. Hopefully, something might happen over the next couple of days.

“We need players of Premier League quality, but I want players who have played in the Championship and who have the hunger to push on and a desperate desire to play in the Premier League.”

U's chairman and owner, Robbie Cowling, is also facing up to the reality that Yeates is on the move.

“We have a history of trying to keep our best players, but it is important to recognise when the time is right for all parties to allow them to leave the club,” said Cowling.

“We have received an offer we feel is acceptable and assuming that Mark and Middlesbrough agree everything on a personal level, we feel we are giving him the chance to continue his career elsewhere.”

The arrival of Yeates at the Riverside should pave the way for 'Boro winger Stewart Downing to join Tottenham. England international Downing is currently recovering from foot surgery.

Meanwhile, U's centre-half Coyne, who signed for a then-club record transfer fee of �350,000 from Luton in January, 2008, is set to join his younger brother Jamie at Perth Glory.

Perth coach Dave Mitchell has offered Coyne a three-year-deal, and the chances are that the 30-year-old will accept the offer, not least because he is desperate for regular first team football in his quest to feature in Australia's World Cup campaign in South Africa next summer.

Coyne said: “I had a chat with Glory and I'm just waiting on things from Asia and the Middle East.

“I'm still looking at every option and I'll make a decision when I've got all the facts in front of me.”

Mitchell admitted: “He's (Coyne) a player we like and want, and it's about getting an arrangement when we can come together.”

Coyne was out-of-favour for much of last season, following manager Lambert's arrival last October. He was away on international duty several times, and struggled to break into the U's starting line-up on each of his returns.

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