U’s boss John Ward will speak to Freddie Sears

FORMER Colchester United loanee Freddie Sears has left West Ham by mutual consent, fuelling speculation that he could consider a move to the U’s.

Manager John Ward admitted today that he would be interested in signing Sears on a permanent contract, and so plans to hold talks with the 22-year-old front-runner.

However, it seems likely that Sears will be a target of other clubs as well, in which case the U’s would be unlikely to compete in terms of financial clout.

Speaking this morning, Ward revealed: “I will be talking to Freddie Sears. I am aware of the situation.

“It has all just happened so it is pretty fresh at the moment.”

Ward has kept in regular contact with Sears since the back end of last season, when he made 11 appearances on loan for the U’s.

Hammers stalwart Sears, who has been at Upton Park for the last decade, since the age of 11, will certainly be targeting regular first team football after the Londoners’ return to the Premier League.

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The classy attacker initially signed a month’s deal with Colchester on February 17, a package that was later extended until the end of the season.

He netted his first goal for the U’s, and his first for more than a year, with a penalty in a 1-1 home draw against Hartlepool on April 6.

And Sears signed off with a second goal, a quality strike, in the U’s last home game of the campaign against Tranmere.

Sears had loan spells at Crystal Palace, Coventry and Scunthorpe earlier in his career, and will no doubt have several options ahead of the new season.

The U’s are currently without a specialist senior striker, following the departures of Kayode Odejayi and Steven Gillespie this summer.

See Monday’s EADT for more reaction to this story, and more quotes from manager John Ward.