Williams signs another defender

COLCHESTER United boss Geraint Williams bolstered his defensive unit still further by signing Paul Reid from Barnsley last night.

Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United boss Geraint Williams bolstered his defensive unit still further by signing Paul Reid from Barnsley last night.

Reid, a free transfer, is the U's third new arrival of the summer, all of them defenders. The 26-year-old follows in the footsteps of fellow centre-half Matt Heath (from Leeds United) and left-back Matt Lockwood (from Nottingham Forest).

United were lumbered with the worst defensive record in the Championship during their relegation campaign of 2007-08, so Williams has made it his top priority to shore up the back-line in time for the new season in League One, at their new Weston Homes Community Stadium.


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Reid joins a growing list of captains to join the U's squad.

Lockwood used to be the skipper of Leyton Orient, while January arrivals Chris Coyne and Dean Hammond used to skipper Luton and Brighton respectively.

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Carlisle-born Reid, who started his career at his home town club, also played for Glasgow Rangers (£200,000 fee in 2000) and Northampton (£100,000 move in 2003), before his switch to Barnsley four years ago.

A 6ft 2ins defender who skippered Barnsley to promotion in 2005-06, when Colchester and Southend were also promoted to the Championship, he was a first choice centre-half during the Tykes first season at this level.

But he was only a fringe player last term, and his lack of chances has prompted this move to the U's. He had signed a new two-year extension to his contract at the end of the 2006-07 season, but that was cancelled by mutual consent on Monday to enable him to join United.

Former England Under-19 international Reid, who can also operate as a defensive midfielder, made just four senior appearances for Barnsley last season, and that included the 2-2 draw at Colchester, when he was sent off early in the second half.

He was placed on the transfer list in January and was loaned out to Carlisle in March.

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