Shake-up in the goalkeeping department at Colchester United

Former U's striker Kevin Lisbie fails to convert an early chance past Walsall keeper Rene Gilmartin,

Former U's striker Kevin Lisbie fails to convert an early chance past Walsall keeper Rene Gilmartin, back in 2010. Gilmartin has for signed the U's as a player/coach. Picture: PAGEPIX

Colchester United have recruited Rene Gilmartin as a goalkeeping player/coach for the new season.

The former Watford custodian has been signed up to give competition to No. 1 choice Sam Walker, plus youngster Dillon Barnes, in addition to filling the role left by coach Ademola Bankole this summer.

Gilmartin is set to go straight into the squad for tomorrow’s first pre-season fixture of the season, away at Maldon & Tiptree (3pm).

The Dublin-born 30-year-old keeper began his career at Walsall (35 league appearances between 2005 and 2010), and has also been on the books of Plymouth, as well as having two spells at Watford, although he only ever made two league appearances for the Hornets, during his first spell in 2010-12, when he struggled to displace Scott Loach.

Gilmartin re-signed for Watford in 2014, but was released at the end of last season. The 6ft 5ins keeper has also played on loan for the likes of Crawley and Yeovil.

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U’s Director of Football, Tony Humes, confirmed: “We have signed Rene Gilmartin as player/coach in another part of the restructuring of the club.

“Rene will provide goalkeeping competition for Sam Walker and Dillon Barnes in the first team, whilst assuming the coaching responsibilities at senior level.

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“Rene is a fully qualified coach and has shown his aspirations by gaining his qualifications at a young age while continuing his playing career.

“He will also work closely with Paul Smith (Head of Academy Goalkeeper Coaching) in the development of all goalkeeping programmes at the club and identifying future goalkeepers for the future.

“George Bankole has left the club as part of the restructure and we would like to wish George the very best for the future and thank him for the work he has done during his time at the football club.”

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