Ward keeping an eye on loan market

COLCHESTER United manager John Ward is likely to wait until the loan window reopens a week tomorrow before undertaking any further transfer business at the League One club.

The permanent transfer window closes at midnight tonight, with all Premier League and Football League clubs also having to declare a 25-man squad at the same time.

The new Football Association rules state that top-flight clubs must have at least eight home grown* players in their squad, while Football League clubs must have 10. Players aged under 21 and all loanees are automatically registered to play.

It means that there is likely to be a flurry of loan activity for Football League clubs next week when the loan window reopens for them following a one-week break.

A number of senior players at Premier League level will inevitably miss out on squad registration and will then be loaned out to Championship and League One clubs, with the knock-on effect being a number of further players filtering down the pyramid.

U’s boss Ward has already admitted that he is keeping an eye on the situation. And while he has managed to cut back a previously bloated squad to more manageable numbers over the summer, there could also be one or two more to leave the club over the coming weeks.

“There’s no rush,” admitted Ward, when asked about the possibility of new faces. “I’m not saying I’m sitting here contented. We are always watching games and we have one or two ideas should the situation arise.”

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The U’s came through a gruelling spell of three games in seven days last week relatively unscatched in the injury department.

The one area that perhaps needs strengthening is that of striker, with the club having let go four in that position over the summer (Clive Platt, Kevin Lisbie, Scott Vernon and Joel Thomas) and bringing in just one (David Mooney). The latter has proved a revelation since his arrival from Reading on loan, but with Steven Gillespie (ankle) once again injured, one more may be required to provide competition alongside Kayode Odejayi.

The likes of Simon Hackney, Medy Elito, Matt Heath and Sam Corcoran haven’t featured much so far this season and could be loaned out again for the second successive campaign.

* Trained for three years under the age of 21 by a club in the English and Welsh professional system.

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