Magnus decision is so crucial to U’s

COLCHESTER United boss John Ward has given Magnus Okuonghae more time to decide his future, which shows just how valued the centre-half is at the Essex club.

Keeper Ben Williams has also been stalling over signing a new contract, although Ward has already stated that he would be happy to go into the new season with Mark Cousins and Carl Pentney as his two senior keepers.

But Okuonghae is a different proposition.

If the ex-Dagenaham & Redbridge centre-half does secure a future at a new club, which would almost certainly be a Championship outfit, then Ward would need to dip into the transfer market to sign a new experienced centre-half.

He has a number of young up-and-coming central defenders at the club, but just two centre-halves with regular first team experience in Matt Heath and Tom Eastman.

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“I am trying to be fair to both Magnus (Okuonghae) and Ben (Williams),” explained Ward.

“Their deadlines are actually up, in terms of the month that we gave them after sending out our offers in writing.

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“But because they are both good players, I have extended the deadline, to give them a little longer.

“I spoke to Magnus (on Tuesday), and he told me that he has received nothing concrete (from elsewhere) yet.

“The offer is still on the table, but he will have to make a decision relatively quickly.

“Obviously if he does decide to leave, then I will be looking for a replacement.

“I can’t afford the club to be in limbo for too long.

“I need to move on, and that would mean getting a new centre-half in if Magnus was to leave,” added Ward.

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