Former Town keeper Dean Gerken returns to Colchester United a decade on

Dean Gerken, right, and fellow Town keeper Bartosz Bialkowski applaud fans after the home match agai

Dean Gerken, right, and fellow Town keeper Bartosz Bialkowski applaud fans after the home match against Sheffield United. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Colchester United have confirmed the signing of goalkeeper Dean Gerken.

Dean Gerken, then aged 18, on his U's debut at Brentford's Griffin Park. He is set to return to the

Dean Gerken, then aged 18, on his U's debut at Brentford's Griffin Park. He is set to return to the Essex club this week.

The 34-year-old has been training with the U's for the past couple of weeks following his release by Ipswich Town, with the League Two club announcing this morning that he will sign pending paperwork completion and ratification.

It means a return to the club where it all began for the Essex-born custodian. He made more than 100 appearances for the U's between 2004 and 2009, helping them win promotion from League One, playing a key role in their 10th-place finish in the Championship before a subsequent drop back down to the third-tier.

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Gerken went on to spend four years in the Championship with Bristol City, Town boss Mick McCarthy snapping him up on a Bosman free transfer following the Robins' relegation in 2013.

A fresh-faced Dean Gerken, pictured on his Colchester United debut at Brentford, 15 years ago, on Ap

A fresh-faced Dean Gerken, pictured on his Colchester United debut at Brentford, 15 years ago, on April 12, 2004

During his six seasons at Portman Road, Gerken made 113 appearances, often having to play the role of back-up to the in-form Bartosz Bialkowski. He was one of seven senior players released by the club following relegation to League One.

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U's boss John McGreal needed a new experienced keeper following Rene Gilmartin's move to Bristol City.

Town and Colchester meet in a friendly at the Jobserve Community Stadium this Friday, the two clubs also facing each other in the group stages of the EFL Trophy in the week commencing November 11.

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Gerken is set to make his first U's outing in more than a decade today in a friendly at Welsh side Cefn Druids.

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