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Leeds want Rob Jones
By: Rob Sedgwick
LEEDS are one of a number of clubs being linked with former Mariner Rob Jones, now captain of SPL club Hibernian. The League One club are said to have offered a substantial fee for the central defender, but Hibs refuse to sell him and are not allowing Jones to talk to Leeds.
Hibernian manager John Collins told the Edinburgh Evening News: "I don't want to sell him and he is under contract. If someone wants to buy him they will just have to wait.
"I am not going to deny that there has been interest in him but he is too important to the team to let him go. We have to think about our own team and the way that we want to play."
Jones has had a remarkable two seasons. Released by Stockport in 2004, his first season at Grimsby looked to be his last until suddenly he improved massively in the last few games. Injury to another player allowed Jones to have a settled spell in the side for the final few games of the season most of which he had spent on the bench. The sudden improvement in a player who had been plucked from obscurity by Russell Slade was enough to earn him a new one year contract at Blundell Park. Nobody could forseen how instrumental Jones was to be the next year and had they done so a three year contract would surely have been forthcoming instead of the basic one year package he was offered.
Jones was Town's best player by a county mile in the 2005-2006 season, a year in which the Mariners were a minute away from automatic promotion and ultimately lost in the play-off final to Cheltenham. Jones, who would have been out of contract in a few days, signed for Hibs in June 2006 for a small fee, around the £150K mark. Town are not believed to have specified a sell-on clause for the 27-year-old.
Jones continued his good form at Hibs, where he shortly became their new captain and skippered the club to victory in the CIS Insurance Cup. His set piece prowess also helped him to 9 goals in 52 appearances.
Jones is said to favour a move back to the north of England, but has a three year contract left with Hibs. How the Mariners will wish they offered him a longer contract back in the summer of 2005.
Postscript: The club have stated that they do have a sell-on clause with Hibs from the sale of Rob Jones, although no indication has been given of the percentage. A figure of 10-20% is the normal range of such clauses however.
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