Ward wants to keep Gillespie at Colchester

COLCHESTER United manager John Ward will sit down and discuss a new contract with in-form goalscorer Steven Gillespie over the next two weeks.

The soon-to-be out-of-contract striker scored twice in the 5-1 home win over Exeter City last weekend to take his tally for the season – and 2011 – to seven.

The 25-year-old Liverpudlian was signed for a club record fee of �400,000 in 2008 but has endured a injury-hit three seasons in Essex. Just 26 of his 68 appearances for the U’s have come from the start, while he has only been on the pitch from start to finish on six occasions.

“He doesn’t have to twist my arm (about a new contract),” said Ward.

“I know all about Steven, I signed him four times at Cheltenham – three times on loan and then I bought him – so I guess of all the managers Steven’s worked with I know him a little bit more than most.

“He’s one I want to keep, that’s not in question, it’s just now a case of sitting down with him and saying how we going to do this.

“Like all people he blows hot and cold a bit, but when he’s hot he’s very, very good.

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“My only concern when I chat with (chairman) Robbie (Cowling) about it is that we need to make sure that, if Steven stays here, he plays a certain number of games for us next season.

“He hasn’t played enough over the three years he’s been here, but I see no reason why that can’t improve. He’s now probably as fit and strong as he’s been on a regular basis.”

He added: “I like Steven, I’m a fan of Steven Gillespie, but he knows that. I want him in the team just like everyone else, but we just need to make sure he can be firing on all cylinders as often as possible.

“If he can stay fit for an entire season then I’m absolutely certain there’s 20 plus goals in him.

“I’ll speak to him over the next two weeks or so about keeping him here.”

– All the latest U’s news in tomorrow’s EADT

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