Lambert eyes Accies pair

COLCHESTER United manager Paul Lambert's quest for two new strikers might well have a happy ending, thanks to his contacts in his native Scotland.

Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United manager Paul Lambert's quest for two new strikers might well have a happy ending, thanks to his contacts in his native Scotland.

The U's look poised to sign a pair of strikers from Scottish Premier League club Hamilton Academical - Richard Offiong and Joel Thomas.

It is believed that a fee has been agreed with the Accies, with United preparing to pay �225,000 for the services of the duo.

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That would probably complete Lambert's summer transfer activity, at least in terms of incoming players, although it would be a surprise if steps were not taken to try and slim down a top-heavy squad.

If Offiong and Thomas do arrive at the Community Stadium this week, it will mean that the U's have six strikers on their books - Clive Platt, Steven Gillespie, Scott Vernon and Jamie Guy are the current quartet.

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Last weekend, Lambert admitted that he had tried, and failed, to sign seven different strikers during the close-season, including Shrewsbury Town's Grant Holt, who was the leading marksman in League Two last term.

The Scotsman told the EADT that he was hoping to bring in two strikers, one experienced, and one young and relatively untried.

Offiong fits the bill of an experienced front-runner. The 25-year-old has scored at a healthy rate of nearly one goal from every two starts for the Accies - he has netted 43 goals in 94 starts.

He was on the books of Newcastle United from 2002 to '04, although he never made a senior appearance for the Magpies. However, he did play for England Under-20s during this time and also had loan spells at Darlington, Motherwell and York City.

Offiong then ventured abroad to play in Turkey, South Korea and Belgium, before signing on a free transfer to Doncaster Rovers in 2005-06.

However, he did not make a name for himself until his switch to Hamilton, where he helped the Accies to promotion to the Scottish Premier League in 2007-08.

The Accies No. 9 scored six goals in the top flight last season, including one against Celtic in a 2-1 home defeat.

Thomas, meanwhile, is a younger more inexperienced front-man. The 22-year-old Frenchman, who stands at 6ft 2ins, signed for the Accies a year ago but scored just once in 28 senior appearances (18 as a

substitute) last term.

There has been a mass exodus of players from New Douglas Park in recent weeks, and now it looks like they will lose two more to the ambitious U's.

If Offiong and Thomas do sign for United, then the first team squad would be boosted to about 28 in number. Lambert has already admitted that he would prefer to be working with a smaller squad of 22 or 23. So departures would seem inevitable.

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