Tom Eastman makes Colchester United history with his third Player-of-the-Year accolade

Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe lunges acrobatically for a cross but is beaten to it fractionally by Exeter City

Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe lunges acrobatically for a cross but is beaten to it fractionally by Exeter City keeper Christy Pym in the 90th minute of yesterday's 1-0 defeat at St James' Park Picture: PAGEPIX - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Tom Eastman has become the first outfield player in Colchester United’s history to be named player-of-the-year on three separate occasions.

Tom Eastman, celebrating with Frankie Kent after scoring the U's second in the 2-0 win over Newport

Tom Eastman, celebrating with Frankie Kent after scoring the U's second in the 2-0 win over Newport County. Eastman has been crowned the U's Player-of-the-Year. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Centre-half Eastman was unveiled as the U’s official Player-of-the-Year tonight, so adding to the accolades he won in 2013-14, and 2014-15.

The 26-year-old former Ipswich Town defender sat out the U’s last two matches of the season, as an unused substitute, but they were two of only four league matches he failed to feature in.

The only other U’s player to have scooped a hat-trick of Player-of-the-Year trophies was keeper Mike Walker, back in 1979-80, 1980-81 and 1982-83.

Kane Vincent-Young won the Young Player-of-the-Year, and Luke Prosser picked up the Community Player-of-the-Year. Full-back Vincent-Young also won the category for the Goal of the Season, for his wonder strike in the home win over Forest Green Rovers from August.


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But Eastman added the Colchester United Supporters’ Association’s Home and Away Player-of-the-Year trophies, while keeper Sam Walker was named the Players’ Player-of-the-Year.

Meanwhile, the U’s have released four players from their first-team squad, with striker Denny Johnstone and the midfield trio of Doug Loft, Craig Slater and Tommy O’Sullivan all departing.

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Experienced midfielder Loft only played 22 games for the U’s over a two-year period, due to a series of injuries, following his switch from Gillingham in the summer of 2016. It has been a story of frustration for the 31-year-old.

O’Sullivan, 23, only made one start for the U’s, the 23-year-old finishing the season on loan at National League side Torquay, who were relegated to National League South.

Likewise, out-of-favour front-man Johnstone spent last season on loan in Scotland with St Johnstone, and central midfielder Slater also played his football north of the border, on loan at Dundee United.

U’s boss McGreal explained: “With Doug we only ever saw glimpses of him because of his injury problems and it just hasn’t worked out for him here.

“Craig and Denny both went back up to Scotland with the idea of getting game time but that hasn’t happened as much as they’d want.

“When Craig first came here he showed what a quality player he is, but again, injuries haven’t helped.”

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