Door still open on Scott Neilson deal - but Grimsby Town face fight to sign winger
PAUL Hurst admits the club face a battle to keep hold of Scott Neilson – but has not ruled out a permanent deal just yet.
The 25-year-old is set to play the final game of a sparkling loan spell with the Mariners against Wrexham tonight (7.45pm).
Joint boss Hurst has reiterated the club’s desire to extend the winger’s stay in Cleethorpes, amid reported interest from Town’s Blue Square Bet Premier rivals Luton.
He is keen for nothing to take away focus from tonight’s crunch clash with the Red Dragons, and said that they will wait until after the game to press Neilson for a decision.
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And although he said the door is not closed on a deal, Hurst acknowledged that ultimately, geography may prove to be a stumbling block in a move for the Londoner.
Speaking to the Telegraph, he said: “The location of the club is the biggest factor that may well go against us when it comes to Scott – We can’t pick Grimsby up and move it.
“I think we may face competition from Luton Town for Scott’s signature; that’s certainly a possibility, but we’ll see what happens with that.
“From our perspective, we know that we’ve given Scott a new lease of life and made him feel comfortable – I’m sure he’s enjoyed his football here”.
He added: “At the minute the door is still open and there is nothing definite with Scott.
“We want to get tonight out of the way and see where we are.
“We’ve had talks and chats with Scott as we have with all of the loan lads, but we don’t want to take the focus off of what is an important game tonight.
“We’ll get the Wrexham game out of the way and then really try to get a decision on Scott one way or another. If he was to stay with us, great, if not, then his loan has served it’s purposed for both parties, he’s played games and he’s improved us.
“If he does move on, then we’ll have to look at getting someone in who can do an equally as good of a job.”
Meanwhile, Hurst said he is hopeful of concluding a deal that would see top-scorer Ross Hannah agree a permanent switch to Blundell Park.
He said that talks are on-going with Hannah’s parent club Bradford City to agree a fee for the 26-year-old, adding that the player is keen to stay and help the Mariners to secure promotion this season.
“We’re hopeful that a deal can be done for Ross,” he added.
“He’s loved it here and he’s made it very clear that he’d be more than happy to sign for us.
“Nothing is ever done until it’s signed, sealed and sent off to the FA and we get confirmation that it’s done.
“It’s still a bit off in truth but in terms of the player, he’s made it clear that he’d be more than happy to stay and help us get back in the Football League.”