Lisbie returns to Colchester on loan

ROY Keane's desire to trim his squad and free up some more wages took another step in the right direction last night when Kevin Lisbie returned to Colchester United on a season long loan.

Derek Davis

ROY Keane's desire to trim his squad and free up some more wages took another step in the right direction last night when Kevin Lisbie returned to Colchester United on a season long loan.

The move, although no great surprise, also means Keane's need to bring in at least one more attack minded player for the season opener against Coventry City at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday.

With Jordan Rhodes following Danny Haynes out the Portman Road gates, and Pablo Counago still struggling with a groin problem, Keane is left with Jon Stead, Jon Walters, Connor Wickham, and at a push Lee Martin, as recognised senior strikers.

With Shrewsbury away in the Carling cup before the home match with Leicester City the following week, it could leave the Blues boss thin on the ground if the hoped for reinforcements don't arrive.

Keane said last Friday he was hoping to bring someone in over the weekend, while chief executive Simon Clegg was not so confident and felt it may take longer, although we all know how quickly things can change, but last night it appeared Town were no nearer any new signings.

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Shane O'Connor could make a push for first team squad inclusion when a youthful reserves side go to Ram Meadow to take on Bury Town tonight.

Lisbie's move to Colchester has been on the cards since May when the we revealed Keane had ordered his players to all move within easy reach of the training ground and the former U's striker expressed his reluctance.

Although he has taken an apartment in Ipswich as a compromise Lisbie was clearly still not going to be part of Keane's plans and found himself training with the reserves, when he was not injured.

Lisbie will be welcomed back to the U's where he netted 17 goals the season before last but still could not prevent them being relegated.

While he was a fans' favourite with the U's Lisbie never really won over the majority of Blues supporters. He managed just six goals for the Blues last season with most of his more impressive displays coming away from home.

If fully recovered, Lisbie could make his second U's bow against Norwich City on Saturday.

Town were last night still in talks with midfielder Veliche Shumulikoski who is close to a �400,000 move to Preston North End.

The 28-year-old has already had a medical at Deepdale but needs to tidy up details with Town before a deal can be concluded.

Preston boss Alan Irvine said: "I'm hoping a couple of things will be happening before the end of the week.

"Transfers take so long these days. They should be easy but unfortunately they aren't."

While they wait on Shumulikoski, Preston have completed a �250,000 move for winger Paul Parry from Cardiff City.

Meanwhile, former Blues defender Matt Richards is close to securing a full time deal with Walsall after impressing on loan.