COLCHESTER United are understood to be lining up a new goalkeeper player-coach with Rene Gilmartin expected to quit the club.

The U’s are believed to be looking for an experienced keeper as a potential replacement for Gilmartin, who is edging closer to a move to Championship side Bristol City.

Gilmartin, whose current contract expires at the end of this week, has been offered a new deal to stay at Colchester.

But the 32-year-old is set to turn that contract down and move to Ashton Gate, leaving the U’s to hunt for someone to step into his player-coach role.

Gilmartin, who joined Colchester from Championship side Watford in the summer of 2017, played 24 times for them during the 2018-19 season.

The Republic of Ireland under-21 international competed for the goalkeeper’s jersey with Dillon Barnes, who made 26 league and cup appearances for John McGreal’s side and Ethan Ross, who helped the U’s keep back-to-back clean sheets in their final two games of the season.

Barnes will be unavailable for Colchester’s League Two opener against Port Vale as he completes a three-match suspension following his red card at Yeovil Town, in the U’s penultimate away game of the last campaign.

Meanwhile, McGreal says new signings Sammie McLeod and Danny Collinge will get the chance to stake a claim for a first-team spot, this summer.

Former Leicester City academy player McLeod has arrived from Maldon and Tiptree, while defender Collinge has signed for the U’s after leaving VfB Stuttgart.

McGreal told the Gazette: “They are two talented boys.

“Both Sammie and Danny will be coming in for pre-season with the rest of the boys and seeing what we’re about and they’ve been given an opportunity.

“As we’ve shown with other players moving up from under-23 level, the opportunity is there for them to stake a claim.

“Sammie missed quite a bit of football at Maldon towards the end of the season.

“But he’s been at Leicester as a young player and now he’s been given an opportunity at Colchester and it will be up to Sammie to prove his worth here.”