Gillespie to receive contract offer tomorrow

COLCHESTER United striker Steven Gillespie will receive his new contract offer tomorrow just days after costing the club �25,000.

U’s boss John Ward confirmed at this morning’s press conference that he and chairman Robbie Cowling have now agreed the initial terms which will be put to the soon-to-be out-of-contract Liverpudlian striker.

The 25-year-old has hit the best form of his U’s career since the turn of the year, his late consolation goal against Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend meaning he has now scored eight times in his last 15 appearances.

That goal at Hillsborough – the simplest of tap-ins – finally saw him hit the 15 mark in a Colchester shirt following nearly three seasons at the club, a string of injuries having severely limited his time on the pitch previously.

And that landmark goal has sparked a clause which sees the U’s pay Gillespie’s former club Cheltenham �25,000 under the terms of his 2008 transfer.

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Ex U’s boss Geraint Williams agreed a club-record deal which had the potential to reach �400,000 when he signed the striker. Colchester have already paid the League Two club an appearance bonus for Gillespie, while they would also have to pass on a percentage of any future sale.

Robins chairman Paul Baker admitted the goal target was reached rather later than he expected, but with cash flow still extremely tight at his club said it provided a welcome boost to the club’s finances.

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He said: “I must admit I thought Steven would reach 15 goals in his first season, not towards the end of his third, but he has had injury problems.

“There was certainly a big cheer in my household on Saturday when I saw that he’d scored and it’s good news for us and good news for Steven because he is out of contract in the summer.

“I have been counting his goals and it’s a massive boost for our April cash flow, so I’d like to say ‘thank you’ to Steven.”

Ward, a former Cheltenham manager himself who celebrates his 60th birthday today, said: “Steven will get his contract offer tomorrow.”

– All the latest U’s news in tomorrow’s EADT.

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