George Elokobi has handed in a transfer request and is ready to quit Colchester United.

The young defender has shocked the club by asking to move on, citing being dropped from the first team as the reason behind his decision.

U's boss Geraint Williams has admitted being surprised by Elokobi's decision and, in a club statement, said: "I'm obviously very disappointed that he feels it necessary to hand in this transfer request.

"I don't like talking about players' contracts in the media but, as his agent has stated, we had a number of meetings with George and his agent while he was in the team and he stated that he had no intention of re-signing for the club.

"While I can't do anything about transfer speculation, there have been no offers for George and we do not want to encourage any, because we feel he has a bright future here.

"I know his attitude will not change and I expect him to continue giving 100 per cent to try and force his way back into the team.

"George remains a first-team player here at the club and we all want him to stay and have a successful future at Layer Road."

Cameroon-born Elokobi has made 14 appearances for the U's this season.

Meanwhile, Williams has urged his players to be positive ahead of tomorrow's Coca-Cola Championship trip to leaders Watford.

The U's boss was dismayed to see his side let two points slip as Plymouth Argyle scored a late equaliser in their Coca-Cola Championship clash on Tuesday, but insisted no doom and gloom has descended on Layer Road.

It was a result that followed other disappointing scorelines at Ipswich Town and Coventry City - 3-1 and 1-0 defeats respectively - and a frustrating 1-1 draw against Leicester City last Saturday.

Several fans booed the players off the pitch in Tuesday's game and there has been some heated criticism of the team and tactics on the club's internet message board in the last few days, but Williams feels any negativity is an over-reaction.

"I think that's very much the case," he said.