Perkins must be replaced

Friday 10th June 2011 14:08

Perkins: Reunited with Hill

Perkins: Reunited with Hill

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Daniel Jolly is concerned David Perkins' departure will leave Colchester struggling in midfield.

U's light in midfield

The news that Colchester fans had been dreading to hear has finally been confirmed: David Perkins has left.

After weeks of uncertainty over the 28-year-old's future it was revealed that he had decided to move for free to Barnsley - now managed by his former boss at Rochdale, Keith Hill.

Undoubtedly, Hill's arrival at Oakwell played a massive part in facilitating the move and it will see Perkins play in the Championship for the first time in his career.

Last season saw the tenacious midfielder get his career back on track in style and ended with him picking up four honours at the traditional End of Season Awards, including the Official Player of the Season and Players' Player prizes.

It caps a remarkable twelve months for the easily recognisable Perkins. Under the stewardship of Aidy Boothroyd, he found himself out of favour and after reiterating his desire to move closer to home in the North, spent loan spells at Chesterfield and Stockport.

Integral

After Boothroyd's departure to Coventry in the summer, John Ward came in and immediately made him an integral part of the club's plans for the new campaign and reunited him with Kem Izzet in the middle of the park.

While it will be a loss to the U's squad, focus must now turn to turn to securing the future of another out of contact midfielder in Ian Henderson - who like Perkins was issued an ultimatum by Robbie Cowling to decide where his future lay.

There will no shortage of options to replace the departing terrier-like midfielder with the likes of Andy Bond, John-Joe O'Toole and Lloyd James surely relishing the possibility of further first team opportunities. Reflecting now on the other awards given out at the End of Season Awards ceremony, midfielder Andy Bond won the Goal of the Season gong for his stunning strike against Sheffield Wednesday.

It was the highlight of the season for the ex Barrow midfielder who couldn't replicate his strong start to the campaign all the way through. The Young Player of the Year honour unsurprisingly went to left back Ben Coker. Coker only made his debut for the first team in January, after the departure of Marc Tierney to Norwich. The 21-year-old hasn't looked fazed by the huge step in level and has shown promising signs in his twenty games played.

Last but not least was the Community Player of the Year award, sponsored by Hospital Radio. This one went to striker Steven Gillespie, who was credited for giving up his time for community and public visits over the past nine months and was one of the club's player ambassadors for the official charities.