COLCHESTER United are being linked with a move to re-sign their former striker Freddie Sears.

The U's are believed to be interested in bringing the 31-year-old, who left them six years ago to join Ipswich Town, back to the JobServe Community Stadium.

The Gazette understands that a move is not yet close but that Sears is a target for Colchester.

Sears, who made more than 100 league and cup appearances for the U's between 2012 and 2015 scoring 36 goals, is out of contract at Portman Road at the end of the season, although the Blues do have an option for a further year.

The forward was not named in Town's 18 for their League One clash with Swindon Town on Saturday, despite being fit.

And Ipswich need to offload senior players if they are to add, as they currently have 21 out of the maximum of 22.

Colchester are on the lookout for new forward options, following the departure of Luke Norris to their League Two rivals Stevenage last week.

U's boss Steve Ball said last week that the club have 'targets' in place to boost their fire power, during this month's transfer window.

Ball said: "There's very much scope for us to bring someone in to replace Luke.

"There's a process in place where when we know that people might be leaving or there are potential sales of players, we've got things in place ready to go and that's something which our team have worked hard on, to have that in place to act.

"We're at that moment now to make the right choice and we have obviously have targets we want to have a look at.

"We will do that, as we move through the window.

"There are discussions taking place right now and that's happening every day with clubs, agents and the players themselves.

"Those things are moving and once it's agreed and we can press the button on it, then I'm sure we will.

"I'm sure there are many clubs in the same position as us whereby people who were on good contracts maybe two or three years ago just can't sustain that.

"I think the climate of the world is like that now, as we showed in the summer with players that moved on.

"That's where we were in this situation here so we have to be careful with our money and if we do act, we'll hopefully do it with the right choice."

Sears became a hugely popular figure during his time at Colchester.

He first joined Colchester on loan in 2012, after being signed by John Ward.

Sears also played under Joe Dunne and Tony Humes, who is now Director of Football at the JobServe Community Stadium, during his time at the U's.

The former West Ham United youngster had scored 14 times in 29 games for the U's in the 2014-15 campaign, prior to leaving for Ipswich.

He made the move to the Championship after joining Town in January 2015 for an undisclosed fee, signing a two-and-a-half year deal.

After leaving Colchester, the forward said: "I enjoyed my time at Colchester, but my ultimate goal was to move back up the leagues.

"This is a great opportunity to do that with a team heading in the right direction.

"I got the call on Thursday and I was down here that night, got the medical done, and I was signing Friday morning."