I'm staying put.

Dean Hammond today handed relegation-haunted Colchester United a boost by pledging his future to the club.

The 25-year-old tenacious midfielder only arrived at Layer Road from Brighton and Hove Albion in the January transfer window.

However, there had been fears among some U's followers that he might look to leave in search of Coca-Cola Championship football.

But despite the club's likely return to League One, Hammond has said he is happy to stay at Colchester and has not even contemplated the prospect of leaving.

He told the Gazette: "Colchester have given me the opportunity to play and I want to play for them.

"I'm happy here, the boys have made me feel welcome and I'm really enjoying my football.

"We've got the new stadium around the corner, we have a good squad and leaving has not even entered my mind."

Colchester's relegation from the Championship could be confirmed on Saturday if they lose to East Anglian rivals Ipswich Town.

But despite the club's recent run of form - which has seen them fail to win any of their last ten games - Hammond said the U's players are still striving to secure as many points as possible between now and the end of the season.

"We're all desperate for a win but everyone is working hard for each other and you can't ask any more than that," said Hammond. "While we're all doing that we're going to improve.

"We have to take the positives from our performance against West Brom last weekend.

"We came out fighting against a team towards the top of the league on their own ground.

"I don't think too many teams have picked up points at the Hawthorns.

"We know we should have got something but hopefully we showed the fans that we're still fighting."

Colchester have five games remaining and can still play a part in the promotion and relegation issues in the Championship.

Hammond insists he and his team-mates will not throw in the towel.

He added: "I think in the Championship, any team can beat anyone.

"As long as there is a chance that we can stay up, then we'll keep fighting.

"We have to play every game so why not try and win every game?

"You can see that's our attitude from the way we played against West Brom, even though the result didn't go our way.

"The performance was an improvement on the Norwich game and we have to keep improving."