Ward hopes to tie up contracts of quintet

COLCHESTER United manager John Ward says the club’s soon-to-be out-of-contract quintet have all intimated to him that they want to stay.

COLCHESTER United manager John Ward says the club’s soon-to-be out-of-contract quintet have all intimated to him that they want to stay.

David Perkins, Steven Gillespie, Ian Henderson, John White and Mark Cousins could all potentially leave the League One club for nothing when their current deals expire this summer.

However, all five have offers of extensions on the table and Ward will hold meetings with them all today to try and make progress on negotiations.

“They’ve all intimated to me that they like it here and they recognise what the club is trying to do,” said Ward.


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“If other clubs start to show some interest then that view could change, I fully understand that, but hopefully we can get a bit closer to sorting something out with these guys soon.”

Keeper Cousins, defender White and midfielder Henderson have all publicly stated their desire to stay at Colchester in recent weeks, with those deals highly likely to happen soon.

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The situation isn’t so clear on Gillespie and Perkins – good friends off the pitch – who could be tempted by bigger offers following excellent seasons.

Gillespie scored nine goals in the second half of the season, although will probably have been offered a heavily incentive based deal due to his terrible injury record over his three seasons at the club.

Perkins scooped the Official, Players’ and Supporters’ Player of the Year Awards at the end-of-season dinner on Tuesday night following a consistent season in central midfield.

It caps a remarkable turnaround for the 28-year-old who was out completely out in the cold under previous manager Aidy Boothroyd this time last year.

“When I took over last summer David came to me and said he wanted a fresh start,” said Ward. “I decided he deserved that chance and to be fair he’s taken it. “He’s been excellent for us this season, made 41 appearances and if it hadn’t been for suspension and injury he would probably have played every game.”

Matt Heath and Carl Pentney have already signed new deals, while Lee Beevers, Conor Powell, Simon Hackney, Medy Elito, Sam Corcoran, Morten Knudsen have all been released.

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