Colchester United have declined to comment on speculation linking them with striker Dexter Blackstock.

The 31-year-old’s contract at League One club Rotherham United was yesterday terminated by mutual consent with two years left to run, fuelling rumours that he might be about to sign for the U’s.

Colchester head coach John McGreal did not comment when asked about the Blackstock link by the Daily Gazette.

But the U’s are in the market for a new forward, following the departure of last season’s top-scorer Chris Porter to Crewe Alexandra earlier this summer.

Blackstock joined Rotherham last September after being signed from Nottingham Forest, where he spent seven seasons and played almost 200 games.

However, the former QPR and Southampton striker managed only 17 appearances and one goal for the Millers and is now looking for a fresh challenge.

McGreal admits Colchester may have to bide their time to land their top targets, in a fiercely competitive transfer market.

But the U’s head coach says they will continue their pursuit of new signings, ahead of the big kick-off on August 5.

McGreal said: “We’re looking to try and strengthen the team and we’re still trying to get players in.

“That might happen now with players’ contracts running out.

“It’s tough and it’s a tough league to try and get players into and that’s what we’re finding out.

“It’s a bit different this season to last, with bigger clubs coming into it from division one and the National League and teams within the league, as well.

“It’s getting more competitive in terms of getting players and that’s what we’re finding.

“When we do identify players, one or two go but we’ve hopefully got one or two in the pipeline that we’re looking to try and get over the line but the main thing is to try and get those players up to speed with the injuries.

“But we are trying and it’s just a case of having a little bit of patience.

“We had one or two irons in the fire that haven’t come off but we’re looking to try and improve the squad.”

Meanwhile, Reading under-23s have been drawn in Group B of the Checkatrade Trophy alongside Colchester, Southend United and Gillingham.