Ward’s contract warning

COLCHESTER United manager John Ward has warned his players currently mulling over new contract offers that the deals might not be on the table indefinitely.

COLCHESTER United manager John Ward has warned his players currently mulling over new contract offers that the deals might not be on the table indefinitely.

Key trio David Perkins, Ian Henderson and Steven Gillespie are all due to be out-of-contract this summer and all three have been offered new deals.

“I won’t put a deadline on them – Robbie (Cowling) might – but I won’t,” said Ward, who will sit down for a series of one-on-one meetings with his entire squad today.

“There is a little bit of a lesson to learn from last year though in Phil Ifil who was offered a contract, sat on it for a little while and then Brian Wilson came in and I had to withdraw that offer.


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“The players know that I can’t sit around waiting and if I have to move with other players then I will do. There’s a precedent there and I’m sure the players are aware of it, if they weren’t they are now.”

Lee Beevers, John White and Conor Powell are also set to be out-of-contract, although it is unclear whether they will be offered new deals.

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Ward, who plans to work at the club for a further week after the players leave for their summer breaks on Friday, added: “I don’t think I’ll get any transfers in over the next week or two. There won’t be a massive influx of new players but hopefully I can get three or four that make this team a bit better.”

Saturday’s 2-1 home win over Bristol Rovers sealed Ward a 10th place League One finish in his first season as U’s manager.

He said: “I have to settle for that because there has been a lot of upheavals, a lot of changes, so I’m okay with what we’ve done. It won’t stop me trying to make it better though.

“I don’t know how it ranks in the history of the club, but I do know that last year we finished eighth and that was the fourth best ever so it must be in the top six somewhere in terms of the best finishes the club has ever had.

“What I really enjoyed today was the reception the team got from the supporters at the end. Sometimes we say it’s a pretty quiet place here but their reaction at the end was one that let my players know they’ve enjoyed watching them play.”

There was, however, a tinge of sadness for Ward on the final day of the season. Not only did he witness first hand Bristol Rovers, the club he spent three years as manager in the 90s, relegated to League Two, but his hometown club Lincoln City – for whom he spent nearly a decade as a player – have also dropped out of the Football League.

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