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Zhang Rules Out Return

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 24/06/2001

CHINESE International defender Zhang Enhua has turned down an offer to join the Mariners in order to concentrate on his international career. Enhua, who enjoyed a four month loan spell with Grimsby last season, has had his hands tied by the Chinese who have banned international players' movements.

The Chinese FA have forbidden its national team squad members from relocating to foreign clubs prior to the World Cup qualifiers later this year, leaving Zhang with no option to turn down the offer return to Blundell Park, where last season he was picked up a colossal £13,000 pay check each week for his services.

A rueful Enhua told the Chinese press: "My days in Grimsby were very important to me. I improved myself in England and naturally I was eager to play in the First Division again, but now I can't."

The Dalian Shide defender made sixteen league appearances for the Mariners last campaign, scoring three invaluable goals. The Chinese international's inclusion in the team (often at the expense of Peter Handyside, still to sign a new contract) caused widespread criticism, particularly when offset against the cost that his loan was eating into Lennie Lawrence's limited transfer "war chest".

The development represents a blow for Grimsby boss Lennie Lawrence, who needs to rebuild his depleted back line before the new season begins in August.

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