RENE Gilmartin has left his role as Colchester United's goalkeeper player-coach and joined Championship club Bristol City.

Gilmartin, whose current contract expired last month, had been offered a new deal to stay at Colchester.

But the 32-year-old turned that contract down and moved to Ashton Gate on a two-year deal, 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 finished the season between the sticks for the U's.