Ward to make Laurent decision

COLCHESTER United boss John Ward says he will make a decision on triallist Francis Laurent towards the end of the week.

The 24-year-old French striker played the entire 90 minutes of a 3-0 reserve team defeat at Stevenage last night.

Laurent was one of a number of players released by Essex rivals Southend United at the back of last season amidst their continuing financial problems.

And with only two fit central strikers on the books at present, Ward contacted free agent Laurent on Monday asking him to come for a trial at The Weston Homes Community Stadium.

The pacey 6ft 3in forward, who can also play out wide, raced back across the channel to join the U’s squad for training on Tuesday morning before his outing in a strong second string side last night.

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“It’s a difficult one to judge at the minute,” said Ward, when asked if it was likely that Laurent would be offered a longer deal.

“We’ll keep him to the end of the week and then I’ll speak to him and Joe Dunne to see what they think. At the moment I’m just collecting my thoughts on him.”

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Last night’s reserve team game saw the return of three first team players from injury in the form of keeper Ben Williams, centre-back Paul Reid and summer signing Ben Coker.

It was the first game back for reigning ‘Player of the Season’ Williams since he suffered bruising of his ankle in the Essex Senior Cup final at AFC Hornchurch just prior to the League One kick-off.

Coker made his first appearance in a U’s shirt since his summer switch from Suffolk non-league side Bury Town, the left-sided player having injured his ankle in training soon after his arrival at the club.

And it was Reid’s first game back since the 2-1 win at Rochdale almost three weeks ago when he limped off with a groin injury.

The trio were joined by a host of experienced professionals including John White, Matt Heath, Medy Elito, traillist Laurent, Ashley Vincent and Kayode Odejayi, but still fell to a disappointing three goal defeat.

Steveage took the lead three minutes before the break when Tim Sill headed in from 10 yards after good work from left-back Stacy long.

And the lead was doubled soon after the restart when former U’s defender Lawrie Wilson collected a well-worked short free-kick before firing into the far corner.

The hosts wrapped up their victory in the 77th minute when young substitute Danny Mitchley curled a left-footed strike into the top corner from the edge of the area.

– For Ward’s full thoughts on triallist Laurent and the surprise defeat for a strong reserve side, see tomorrow’s EADT.

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