COLCHESTER United have pulled off a coup in re-signing goalkeeper Dean Gerken, according to head coach John McGreal.

Gerken is expected to rubber-stamp his move to the U's today, having played the opening 45 minutes of their 3-0 friendly win at Welsh Premier League side Cefn Druids, on Saturday.

The 34-year-old, who was a free agent after leaving Ipswich Town at the end of last season, has returned to the club where he won promotion, after a ten-year absence.

And following Rene Gilmartin's departure to Bristol City earlier this month, boss McGreal says he is delighted to sign the former U's youth-team player.

McGreal said: "It's been bubbling for a number of weeks and we're absolutely delighted to have a Championship goalkeeper come down to where we are.

"It's not one where he's come in and he's 34 - Dean is making it clear he wants to play and that's the big thing for us.

"We've lost Rene (Gilmartin) who did well for us last season but has gone onto bigger things at Bristol City.

"I said in the early part of the off season that we needed that number one goalkeeper.

"We've been able to do that by bringing Dean in and it's a good coup for us."

McGreal was speaking at the club's annual Open Day, which took place yesterday at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Hundreds of people flocked to the venue for the event, where the U's players trained and the club's new home and away kits were unveiled.

Colchester's first-team squad attended the event having returned from their pre-season training camp, at Carden Park.

The trip culminated in their victory over Cefn Druids, where goals from Andre Hasanally, Omar Sowunmi and Luke Norris sealed victory.

"It was a productive and really tough week," said McGreal.

"We got back late on the Tuesday night after the Dulwich Hamlet game and we were up and out travelling (on Wednesday) six or seven hours up north.

"It takes a lot out of you and then we've put a lot of sessions into the boys while we've been up there.

"We put the game back to the Saturday to get another couple of sessions into them and by the time we played it, the players were quite fatigued and stressed which was good.

"It tells us we're doing our job and hitting the numbers.

"You know what you're going to get (against Cefn Druids) - it was a game against a Welsh Premier League side.

"We knew that they would be in our faces and intimidate one or two things on the pitch.

"But our players' application was excellent and we could have run out with a few more goals, to be fair especially in the second half.

"There are still one or two teething problems with boys coming into it but the only way we can deal with it is by playing these types of games."

Colchester's next friendly is at Wealdstone, tomorrow night.