U's squad now looking stronger

COLCHESTER United's first-team squad looks a lot stronger, following the capture of striker Kevin Lisbie on a free transfer.Ex-Charlton Athletic favourite Lisbie finally put pen to paper on a permanent contract yesterday, after more than two weeks of protracted negotiations.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United's first-team squad looks a lot stronger, following the capture of striker Kevin Lisbie on a free transfer.

Ex-Charlton Athletic favourite Lisbie finally put pen to paper on a permanent contract yesterday, after more than two weeks of protracted negotiations.

But manager Geraint Williams insists that the jigsaw is not yet complete. Other new faces might still arrive at Layer Road over the next week or two.


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Top of his list is Southend United centre-half Adam Barrett. Williams is eager to find a suitable replacement for the experienced Wayne Brown, who left Layer Road to join Championship rivals Hull City in a £450,000 deal last month.

The U's have made an undisclosed six-figure bid for Barrett, and Shrimpers chairman, Ron Martin, is mulling over the offer. Barrett, 27, has played against the U's several times in his career, having made 138 senior appearances for Southend over the last three years. Barrett has also been on the books of Leyton Orient, Plymouth, Mansfield and Bristol Rovers.

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Meanwhile, Lisbie insists that he has come to Layer Road to hold down a regular starting place, after many years of frustration at Charlton. Over the past 11 years as a professional at The Valley, Lisbie made more appearances as a substitute (93) than from the start (62) in his 155 league outings.

Speaking last night, Lisbie said: “I have not come to Colchester to just sit on the bench. That's what I have told the gaffer. I've not come here just to sit around and take the money.

“It will feel weird not playing for Charlton, after all this time. I went and picked up the rest of my stuff from their training ground recently, and it felt a little strange to be leaving. However, I can't wait to get going in the Championship with Colchester. The games have come thick and fast in pre-season. In fact, it's felt like I've played about five games in four days!

“To be honest, though, it's something I really needed. I hadn't had much of a pre-season, and wasn't very fit.”

Jamaican international Lisbie has featured heavily in the U's pre-season programme, playing in every friendly except Wednesday night's 1-1 draw at Bromley.

The 28-year-old has formed a potentially potent strong-force with fellow summer signing Clive Platt, announcing his arrival on the scene with a goal at Heybridge in the pre-season opener. Platt has contributed three goals himself this summer.

Lisbie continued: “I've trained with Clive (Platt), and played alongside him in most games, which is the only way to form an understanding as a strike-force pairing.

“I reckon we will get a lot of goals together, providing we can both stay fit. We've been playing a 4-4-2 with two attacking wingers in some matches (Mark Yeates and Kevin McLeod), and although we won't always do that, it should help Clive and me. We are both good with our heads.

“I may have left Charlton, but I will still be playing against them in the same division this season. We have a relatively new team, and a lot of the new lads have stuck together. It might take a couple of games to gel, but it should be an exciting season,” added Lisbie.

Of the Lisbie deal, U's boss Geraint Williams said: “Some deals are sorted out in just five minutes, while others take a lot longer, like Kevin (Lisbie) signing for us. But we are delighted that he has signed a contract with us, and look forward to him playing a large part in Colchester United's second season in the Championship.

“Kevin has looked sharper with every pre-season game. The lads that we already here from last year have had a head start, because of their individual fitness programmes for the summer, but the newer arrivals have been catching up. However, Kevin will have to fight for his place up front, along with Teddy Sheringham, Clive Platt, Jamie Guy and Tom Webb.

“And I certainly wouldn't say that Kevin is the final piece in the jigsaw. He is just the latest piece that we have signed. I am still in talks with one or two other players.”

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