WAS Sammie Szmodics’ fine strike against Crewe Alexandra his last for Colchester United?

If it was, he did not show it.

There was no emotional farewell wave to the U’s fans; no kissing or pointing to the badge at the final whistle.

Szmodics looked like a player who would still be around for Colchester’s next match, their trip to Northampton Town this Saturday.

By then, of course, the January transfer window will be well and truly closed.

It would certainly be a big boost for Colchester if they could hold onto their leading scorer until at least the end of the season.

But higher-league clubs are circling – and the clinical manner in which Szmodics took his goal will have done nothing to put them off in their pursuit.

Colchester chairman Robbie Cowling has always been open in saying that he would not stand in the way of any player – or any other member of staff come to that – who wishes to test himself at a higher level.

One of the key principals of Cowling’s dedication to the club’s academy has been providing a clear pathway for young players to succeed and flourish at the club and potentially beyond – and Colchester-born Szmodics has certainly done that.

After making 147 first-team appearances for the U’s – scoring 33 times in that time - few would begrudge the former Stanway School pupil the chance to progress with his career.

But the timing of any transfer will be key.

If Colchester do lose their prize asset, they will surely need time to replace him.

And with the transfer window closing on Thursday night, that might be tricky to say the least given Szmodics’ worth to the team.

Colchester undoubtedly have their own targets and are seeking to bring them in before the window closes, with the cash generated by loanee Aaron Collins’ return to parent club Wolverhampton Wanderers helping to provide a small purse to play with.

Nevertheless, if Szmodics does depart it will leave the U’s with a bigger cash sum at their disposal – but leave them without a key player as they push for League Two promotion.

The best scenario for Colchester – and possibly Szmodics – would probably be for any transfer to happen at the end of the season rather than midway through the campaign. Time will tell.