Premier League

Cole and Collins sink Colchester

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Tue, 16 Jul 2013 22:18:00

Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray is convinced that Grant Leadbitter has no desire to leave the club.

The midfielder is reported to have been the subject of several offers from Championship rivals Nottingham Forest.

Boro have fended off that interest and Mowbray is adamant that the 27-year-old is happy at the Riverside Stadium.

He said in the Middlesbrough Gazette: "The positive for me on Grant is that he's said to me many times he enjoys being at Middlesbrough FC.

"He enjoys the training, he enjoys coming to work every day and I am very confident in my own mind that he's not looking to move on.

"He's very settled and looking forward to the season.

"He was very important to us last season and he will be moving forward with us I'm pretty sure.

"He's happy with Dean Whitehead's arrival at the club, somebody he knows well, and in training they've been bouncing off each other.

"They are both very competitive and it's brought an edge to training. And we're looking forward to the midfield being a strong department this season.

"If anything it's a positive for us that people are interested in our players because it suggests we've got some good players."

The 27-year-old striker is not believed to be injured, but his time in Italy with the rest of the Black Cats squad has been cut short.

Graham has been strongly linked with a move away from the club, and Hull City boss Steve Bruce has confirmed his interest in the player in recent days.

Graham is not believed to feature highly in the plans of Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio, who has already bolstered his striking options this summer with the signing of Jozy Altidore.

Graham joined Sunderland from Swansea in January when they paid £5million for his services, but in 11 league games he is yet to score for the club.

Bruce admitted earlier on Tuesday Graham is a "very good player" and is reported to be keen on a season-long loan deal.

"There's lots and lots of players and it's always wrong for me to talk about them, but Graham is someone where there's been a bit of interest," he told the Hull Daily Mail.

"He hasn't had the best of times in the north-east but he's a very, very good player. Whether it's possible, who knows? It's something that we're looking at but we haven't done anything just yet."

Joe Cole and defender James Collins were on target at the start of each half for the Premier League side.

Substitute Jabo Ibehre headed in a stoppage-time consolation with a powerful header.

Hammers boss Sam Allardyce selected a strong squad for the trip up the A12, with summer signing Adrian in goal and veteran Romania defender Razvan Rat in the XI, although England striker Andy Carroll is still not fit from a heel injury.

Colchester named on-loan Chelsea youngster Daniel Pappoe on the bench, while former Irons youngster Freddie Sears started in attack alongside one-time Premier League frontman Clinton Morrison.

West Ham were gifted an early lead on seven minutes when United goalkeeper Mark Cousins' clearance bounced back into his own net off midfielder Cole.

Colchester responded well to going behind. On 21 minutes, Adrian, signed from Real Betis on a free transfer, saved a snapshot from Morrison, the former Crystal Palace and Birmingham striker.

The hosts were almost level when Gavin Massey cut inside from the left and curled a low shot just wide.

West Ham midfielder Matt Taylor played in 18-year-old striker Elliott Lee just before half-time, but Cousins was out quickly and produced a smart stop.

Centre-back Collins did make it 2-0 at the start of the second half when he headed home Cole's corner on 50 minutes.

With 15 minutes left, substitute midfielder Jack Collison had a close-range effort saved by Cousins.

Ibehre's goal with a powerful header from a right-wing cross by Tosin Olufemi proved the last action of the match.

The Irons, who kick off their Premier League campaign at home to newly-promoted Cardiff on August 17, are now set for a training camp in Germany which includes games against Mainz and Hamburg.

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