Lambert resigned to Yeates loss

COLCHESTER United boss Paul Lambert accepts that his star player, Mark Yeates, could have played his last game for the club.

Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United boss Paul Lambert accepts that his star player, Mark Yeates, could have played his last game for the club.

Winger Yeates was on the verge of leaving the U's last summer, only for his proposed move to Crystal Palace to fall through, due to a failed medical on a damaged shoulder.

However, the Dubliner looks set to finally depart the League One club during this close-season, with Middlesbrough leading the chase.

Boro boss Gareth Southgate is keen to find a suitable replacement for Stewart Downing, because the odds are that the England winger will be leaving Teesside.

And Yeates would fit that bill. Middlesbrough are prepared to pay �350,000 to recruit the ex-Tottenham trainee, in their quest for an immediate return to the Premier League following relegation.

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Lambert does not want Yeates to leave the U's, which is hardly surprising when considered that the classy winger top-scored with 12 goals last season.

However, Lambert is resigned to the fact that if a good deal can be struck, then the talented 24-year-old wide man will be on his way.

“I'd like to hold onto Mark (Yeates). He's an exciting player, but in the end money will decide what happens,” revealed Lambert.

“Players will have to go, because I want to bring others in.

“There is not the same money around as when this club was in the Championship, and I understand that.

“I expect things to happen with Mark, if an offer comes in that is good for the club. He would definitely leave a hole. You never like to see your best players leave, but I'm trying to get a few more players in.

“I know how many I want to bring in - there are six - and I want to be working with a first team squad of just 21 or 22.”

Championship side Bristol City are also believed to be interested in signing Yeates.

Yeates, who was part of the U's promotion-winning squad of 2005-06, while he was on a year-long loan from Tottenham, arrived on a permanent contract a year later.

He netted eight goals in 29 outings during the relegation season, and was even more prolific last term, occasionally playing in a more central attacking position.

But his best displays were reserved for away from home, and his inconsistency often frustrated Lambert.

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