Eastman: Two reasons why I rejected Town deal

TOM Eastman says there were two reasons behind his decision to turn down a new deal at Ipswich Town and sign for Colchester United on a free transfer.

The 19-year-old – who was born in Colchester and lives in Clacton – joins the League One club having been at Championship side Ipswich since the age of nine.

Primarily a centre-back but also able to operate at right-back, the imposing 6ft 3in youngster was offered a further six-month deal at Portman Road by manager Paul Jewell at the end of the season.

However, he turned that down to sign a two-year contract at Essex neighbours Colchester.

“There were two reasons behind my decision,” said Eastman.

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“The two years obviously gives me a lot more stability than the six months I was offered at Ipswich, while I’ve also got more chance of breaking into the first team here.

“I’m disappointed to leave Ipswich, but I had a really good taste of first team football at the start of the season and now I’m desperate for more.”

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Having been sent off on his first team debut against Sheffield United at the back end of the 2009/10 season, Eastman signed a one-year professional contract under Roy Keane last summer.

He played 12 games under the Irishman at the start of the season just gone, but fell out of favour last November and hasn’t featured at all under new boss Jewell.

Eastman links back up with his former Ipswich mentors Richard Hall and Tony Humes who have both made the short trip down the A12 in recent years.

“With those two on our staff, we were well aware of Tom’s background and pedigree and we have seen him play more recently for Ipswich’s reserves,” said U’s boss John Ward, who had Ipswich defender Tommy Smith on loan at the end of the season.

“Ipswich had offered him a six-month contract which, under the rules, meant we were able to move in and get him on a free transfer.

“As well as a player who can come in and compete now, he is also one for the future as well.

“We will have the senior three centre-halves (Magnus Okuonghae, Pat Baldwin and Matt Heath) to be challenged for their places by Tom (Eastman) and Tom Bender.”

Eastman becomes the club’s second signing of the summer following the arrival of left-back Michael Rose on a free transfer after Swindon cancelled his contract.

Steven Gillespie, Andy Bond, John White and Matt Heath have signed new contracts recently, while David Perkins, Ian Henderson and Mark Cousins have been offered new deals.

Simon Hackney, Medy Elito, Lee Beevers, Conor Powell, Mortemn Knudsen and Sam Corcoran have all been released.

– Should Eastman have been offered a longer Town deal? E-mail: sport@eadt.co.uk.

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