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Wigan Bid For Town Player

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 18/07/2000

The bid by Wigan is way below the club's valuation of the 27-year-old striker and vice-chairman Bryan Huxford said it had been refused point blank. "That amount is an insult to both the club and the player,'' he said

The ball is now in Wigan's court but the sticking point with new Latics boss Bruce Rioch remains the £650,000 price tag. The former Arsenal boss is a keen fan of Ashcroft having made an attempt to sign him during his spell as Norwich manager. But he is unwilling to pay anything like what the Mariners are chasing for the forward who is actively seeking a move back to his Lancashire roots. It is understood that he will refuse to pay anything more than £350,000. Wigan's chairman is multi-millionaire Dave Whelan, the owner of the JJB Sports empire, and he is also believed to be a key fan of Ashcroft - something which may see him approve an improved bid for the wantaway player. Ashcroft will be hoping any deal can be tied up as soon as possible but his immediate future depends on whether the two clubs can reach some common ground on their valuations of the player. But having spent £500,000 to get his man from Preston just two seasons ago, Town boss Alan Buckley wants to at least recoup his outlay. Rioch is known to be a strict disciplinarian and will have compiled a full dossier on Ashcroft who wants to return to Lancashire for family reasons. The former Preston striker was on target for the Mariners in their first game of the pre-season last Friday as he netted the opening goal against Brigg Town in a 3-1 win.

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