Platt signs new deal

CLIVE Platt has handed Colchester United a boost, on the eve of the Essex club's first ever competitive game at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, by signing a new and improved contract.

Carl Marston

CLIVE Platt has handed Colchester United a boost, on the eve of the Essex club's first ever competitive game at the new Weston Homes Community Stadium, by signing a new and extended contract.

In the process, the U's fended off a bid from a rival League One club, believed to be in the region of £400,000, to keep their prime target man.

Platt originally arrived at Colchester for a then club record fee of £300,000 from MK Dons, during the summer of 2007, and he formed a strong partnership with Kevin Lisbie last term.

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The 30-year-old was only a substitute in the opening day 4-2 defeat at Hartlepool, but he returned to the starting line-up for the midweek 1-0 success at Gillingham in the Carling Cup.

U's boss Geraint Williams enthused last night: “In the past it has been difficult to stand in the way of some of our players, like Karl Duguid (to Plymouth) and Kevin Lisbie (to Ipswich), who have wanted to stay in the Championship.

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“You can understand their ambition, and we even have trouble with competition from some other clubs in our division, who have more resources than us.

“But Clive (Platt) is a player we wanted to keep, so I'm naturally delighted that he has signed a new and extended contract. It shows the chairman's ambitions that we have not lost this player to a rival club,” added Williams.

Robbie Cowling, the U's owner and chairman, confirmed: “We have fended off a £400,000 bid from one of our League One rivals for Clive Platt, and he has now committed himself to our club by signing a new and improved contract.

“Within our means, we are doing all we can to attract the very best players to sign for Colchester United. We are also doing our best to hold onto our players, who all too frequently are attracting interest from other clubs.”

Platt came into the side for the injured Steven Gillespie at Gillingham on Tuesday night, when a 10th minute goal from defender Matt Heath ensured a 1-0 victory in this Carling Cup first round tie.

The U's have since been drawn away against Ipswich Town in the second round, which will mean Town's new recruit Lisbie facing the team for whom he scored 17 goals last term.

Williams said: “Kevin (Lisbie) said a lot of nice things about the club when he left us this summer, and he did say that he didn't want to play against Colchester for a bit!

“It's rather ironic that we will now be playing against each other, so early in the season, but it's a good tie with lots of local interest and there should be a good crowd.”

Meanwhile, the U's will host their first competitive game at their new Weston Homes Community Stadium tomorrow, when Huddersfield Town are the visitors.

The Club are expecting a crowd of at least 7,000 for this historic stadium opener. There will be more than 1,000 Huddersfield fans in attendance, and Weston Homes will be giving out free scarves to all home fans. It will be possible to buy a ticket on the day.

Record signing Gillespie, who scored both goals in the 4-2 defeat at Hartlepool, missed the trip to Gillingham due to a thigh problem, but he expected to figure tomorrow.

Williams added: “Steven (Gillespie) had some tightness in his thighs, so we didn't want to risk him at Gillingham. But he should be available for this weekend.”

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