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Newcastle and Derby are keeping tabs on Ford

By: Richard Lord
Date: 10/02/2002

IT HAS been revealed that Premiership giants Newcastle United are tracking the progress of Grimsby Town's young centre back Simon Ford. Derby County and a list of other First Division clubs are also keeping an eye on the up-and-coming youngster.

Only last week Ford spoke of his wish to sign an extended contract with the Mariners but now this gives manager Paul Groves a very good reason to offer the 20-year old an improved deal that will keep him tied to the club after the summer.

Ford initially joined the Mariners on trial from Charlton but was signed last summer on a one-year contract. Although Ford could leave Blundell Park in the summer, because of his age Grimsby would be entitled to a transfer fee, albeit decided by a tribunal.

Paul Groves spoke to the Evening Telegraph of the sudden interest in one of his emerging stars. "As a football club whatever happens to us, Simon is one of the players that falls into the category of those that we want to keep," he admitted.

"We don't want to lose him because of how old he is and how well he's done. He's done tremendously well since he came into the team. There's going to be people watching him, I understand that."

"If someone comes into the team that's young and starts playing well and settles into it reasonably okay, then it's going to make people aware of the situation."

Ford is one of many youngsters approaching the end of one-year deals, with Bolder, Hockless, Morgan and Ross Thompson also seeing their contracts expire in the summer. Chris Thompson is on a two-year contract.

With Town's future in Division One hanging in the balance there's no certainty that all the youngsters will be offered new deals in the summer. Any money that will become available to Groves will be determined by which division Grimsby will be in next season.



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