Hard-hitting Colchester United boss Steve Whitton has revealed there will not be deals for every one of his players currently seeking new contracts.

New boy - U's boss Whitton is keen to sign Con Blatsis (right) permanently

But the U's manager will be speaking to 24-year-old Australian international new-boy Con Blatsis with a view to keeping him at Layer Road on a long-term basis.

Whitton said: "I will be talking with Con today to find out what his ideas of the future are.

"He is currently playing on a weekly non-contract basis and I am very keen to sign him permanently if I can.

"The boy looked every bit a good defender on his debut against Queens Park Rangers last Saturday.

"The next few days leading up to Thursday's transfer deadline could be very crucial in our dealings."

Central defender Blatsis revealed after the QPR match that he is desperately looking to secure a future in English football following his recent release by Premiership club Derby County.

But the future is not looking so rosy today for the eight U's players - Micky Stockwell, David Gregory, Alan White, Bobby Bowry, Ross and Gavin Johnson, Joe Dunne and Chris Keeble whose current contracts expire at the end of this season.

Whitton said: "They've all got a lot to play for because I will definitely not be re-signing all of them.

"The picture changes every season and we have to move on."

The U's boss has already indicated that a new deal is likely to be worked out with Stockwell and that the club is very unlikely to dump long-term injury victims Dunne and Keeble.

That only leaves Gregory, White, Bowry and the two Johnson's fighting to fill the limited number of places.

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Published Thursday, March 21, 2002