U's aim to hang on to Barker

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Colchester United want to sign on-loan defender Chris Barker permanently in the New Year.

Barker is currently in the middle of a loan spell from Cardiff City and has impressed in his 12 appearances for The U's.

Layer Road chief Geraint Williams is now hoping he can persuade the Championship leaders into allowing him to keep Barker in the long term.

Williams said: "Chris Barker is contracted to Cardiff and they've got first dabs on him come January.

"But we would like to throw our hat in the ring if he became available.

"Hopefully we can keep him happy until January and beyond because we would love Chris to stay here."

Barker was a £600,000 signing for Cardiff from Barnsley in 2002, but no longer seems to be part of Dave Jones' plans at Ninian Park, despite making 45 appearances for the club last season.