U's launch bid for Shrews striker

SHREWSBURY Town hot shot, Grant Holt, could be the man to lead Colchester United's front-line next season.

Carl Marston

by Carl Marston

SHREWSBURY Town hot shot, Grant Holt, could be the man to lead Colchester United's front-line next season.

It is believed that the U's have already launched a bid, in the region of �250,000, for the highly-rated striker, although the Shrews could well hold out for more.

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Target man Clive Platt was the only regular striker employed by the U's last term, due to Steven Gillespie's continual struggle with injuries, and the indifferent form of back-up front runners Scott Vernon, Sunday-Akanni Wasiu and Jamie Guy.

Manager Paul Lambert therefore wants a new striker, and on top of the Scotsman's wish list is 28-year-old Holt, who took League Two by storm last season.

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Carlisle-born Holt was League Two's leading scorer with 28 goals in all competitions (20 in the league), following his club record �175,000 move from Nottingham Forest last summer.

He scored five goals in one match, when netting a nap-hand in a 7-0 victory in a Johnstone's Paint Trophy second round tie against Wycombe Wanderers, Lambert's former team.

It would certainly be a coup for the Essex club to bring Holt to the Community Stadium. However, Shrewsbury manager Paul Simpson is understandably reluctant to sell his best player.

Holt has two years left on his contract at New Meadow, and is currently recuperating from an ankle operation which he underwent after the Shrews' play-off final defeat to Gillingham in May. He is expected to be fit for the new season.

Simpson insisted: “There have been a number of rumours circulating about Grant leaving the club, but I am still planning for Grant Holt to be wearing the No. 16 shirt next season.

“We are in a fortunate position at the football club where financially we don't have to sell.”

Earlier this month, Simpson recruited striker Jake Robinson on a free transfer from Brighton.

In the absence of a prolific striker, winger Mark Yeates was the U's leading marksman with 12 goals last term, followed by Platt on 10.

Gillespie only played one full 90 minutes all season - on the opening day at Hartlepool - so his fitness cannot be relied upon. Wasiu was released at the end of last season, while Guy could be on his way to Dagenham & Redbridge.

Otherwise, Lambert relied on a number of loanee strikers to plug the gap last season, including Sam Williams (from Aston Villa), Jermaine Easter (from Plymouth) and Karl Hawley (from Preston).

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