Aidy denies interest in Shrimpers striker

COLCHESTER United boss Aidy Boothroyd has denied any interest in Southend United striker Lee Barnard.

Stuart Watson

Aidy denies interest in Shrimpers striker

By Stuart Watson

COLCHESTER United boss Aidy Boothroyd has denied any interest in Southend United striker Lee Barnard.

With the Shrimpers facing an administration hearing next Wednesday over an unpaid tax bill of �660,000, there was inevitable speculation that the club may be forced to cash in on their in-form striker.

Barnard is currently League One's joint top scorer with 10 goals in 14 games and, as a result, both Colchester and Mk Dons were linked with a move for the 25-year-old earlier this week.

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“We're not interested in Lee,” said Boothroyd, whose is yet to lose a game as U's boss.

“As good a player he is, in my opinion, he is not as good as what we have already got.”

Clive Platt and Kayode Odejayi are the current first choice forward pairing for Colchester, but they have club record signing Steven Gillespie breathing down their necks following a number of impressive substitute appearances, while Kevin Lisbie will also be keen to get back up front having been deployed a right-winger in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, Boothroyd has praised the reaction of midfielder David Fox following his decision to bring in 18-year-old midfielder Josh Payne on loan from West Ham as cover for Kemi Izzet.

The former Manchester United trainee started the season as one of the first names on the team sheet, but now finds himself behind Izzet, Payne and John-Joe O'Toole in the central midfield pecking order.

But he staked his claim earlier in the week by scoring twice for the reserves in a 3-0 victory over Barnet - one an exact replica of the free-kick he scored against Norwich on the opening day of the season - in front of an impressed Boothroyd.

“David's a good lad and it was a good, positive reaction from him,” said the U's boss.

“He's been training hard and doing his best every day and I can't ask for anymore than that. I wouldn't expect anything else though because if he had sulked he wouldn't have gone up in my estimation.

French striker Joel Thomas will act as an inspiration to Fox after he was recalled to the first team bench last weekend following an impressive showing for the second string.

“That's the thing with me, everybody will get a chance,” said Boothroyd.

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