Maybury likely to avoid axe

COLCHESTER United boss Paul Lambert is set to wield the axe next month, but Alan Maybury is likely to be one of those who escapes the cull.

Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United boss Paul Lambert is set to wield the axe next month, but Alan Maybury is likely to be one of those who escapes the cull.

Lambert wants to bring in a host of new players over the summer, which means releasing several from his current squad. There promises to be some feverish activity in the transfer market.

Maybury's contract expires in June, but the Irishman is keen to stay at the Community Stadium, and the chances are that the Essex club will offer him a new deal.

In fact, Maybury has been ever-present since his arrival at the beginning of December, a run of 26 appearances on the trot. He should chalk up game No. 27 against promotion-seeking Peterborough United this afternoon.

“I like it here. My family have settled in the area, so it would be good to stay,” admitted Maybury.

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“We have showed glimpses this season of what we are capable of, so I think this is a good place to be. It's a club on the up.

“I have spoken to the gaffer (Lambert) a couple of times, and I think he wants me here for next season. He's spoken to the chairman (Robbie Cowling), but of course it's all about the budget.

“I'm committed to Colchester United until mid-June, because that's when my current contract runs out, so there is no real hurry.

“But obviously I don't want a repeat of last year, when I was without a club for quite a while. It's been fun this year, and it could be very exciting with all the players that could be coming in for next season,” added Maybury.

Dubliner Maybury has spent virtually his whole career at full-back, since his earliest days at Leeds United in the mid-1990s.

But last weekend the 30-year-old was transformed into a central midfielder, partly to give a patient John White a chance at right-back, and partly because of a dearth of midfielders in the U's squad - skipper Dean Hammond was suspended and David Perkins was injured.

Maybury acquitted himself well alongside Kem Izzet in a comfortable 2-0 win at relegation-doomed Hereford United, but this afternoon against second-placed Peterborough promises to be a much sterner test.

The versatile Maybury does not know whether he will revert to right-back, or continue his makeshift role in central midfield. Hammond serves the second of his two-match suspension against Posh, while Perkins is out for the season with a knee injury.

“Playing in midfield was certainly different for me. It was a different type of running,” explained Maybury.

“I had played on the right-hand side of midfield before, but never in the centre. The manager asked me to do a job there, but you shouldn't expect miracles!

“I tried to do my bit for the team, and Hereford away was the right type of game to play in central midfield.

“Of course Kem Izzet and Dean Hammond have had a good relationship in central midfield, while Johnnie Jackson and David Perkins have also done well in this position.

“Yet we are are down to the bare bones at the moment, so I don't know where the gaffer wants me to play,” added Maybury.

In addition to Hammond and Perkins, the U's will still be without striker Steve Gillespie (ankle), defender Paul Reid (knee) and midfielder Jackson (hamstring), while Wolves loanee Lewis Gobern is still struggling with injury. The Preston loanee double act of Neal Trotman and Karl Hawley both returned to Deepdale last week.

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