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Fri 31/03
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Ford has his sights set on a new Town deal

By: Richard Lord
Date: 07/02/2002

GRIMSBY Town's emerging young star Simon Ford looks likely to miss the televised game on Sunday at Watford, but the central defender also has his sights set on a new Town deal.

The 20-year old's current 12-month contract expires in the summer and Ford has admitted he would love to stay at Blundell Park. Speaking to the Evening Telegraph he said: "Obviously I'd like to stay. Grimsby gave me my first League appearances after Charlton let me go, so hopefully I'll sign up and we'll take it from there.

"I've been told that they want me to stay. After a couple of games Grovesy told me that they'd like to keep me. We've left it for the moment because with the situation we're in there are more important things to worry about with staying in the division.

"I've settled in a lot here and I know I'd find it difficult if I had to start again somewhere new. It helps my game when I'm settled and I don't want to change that."

Ford is just one of many 'rough diamonds' former Mariner boss Lennie Lawrence brought to the club in the summer. He and Chris Thompson broke into the first team at Preston the weekend before Christmas, but it has been Ford who has held down his place in the side.

He starred in the 3-1 triumph over Portsmouth, scoring the goal that put Town in the lead on that particular afternoon. His performances have kept him in the side since and he has recently been performing in a 4-4-2 without the extra protection of another central defender.

Ford added: "I've felt better in the last couple of games. At first I thought I was in because we only had three centre- backs, but now I feel more comfortable. The lads have taken me in and now I don't feel so out of place. I just want to stay in the first team, keep performing well and help us stay up."

"It's a big incentive now Raves is fit. I wasn't sure if I'd be in the side at first when he came back. He's fully fit now and it shows that my performances are not going unnoticed. But I know if I slip up or don't perform then he'll come in and take my place. That helps me stay on my toes in games."

Ford has missed training all week due to a virus and has also received treatment for a bruised hip he sustained against Bradford on Saturday. It looks likely that the manager will replace the player 15 years his junior and will partner Raven at the back at Vicarage Road.

ELSEWHERE Town front man Steve Livingstone still has his sights set on a first team return for the beginning of March. A blood clot rather than a cyst was removed from the back of his knee, which means there should not be a recurrence of the problem.


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