Former Mariners’ boss Paul Hurst emerged as the shock winner in the race to sign Grimsby Town attacker Sam Jones in a dramatic deadline day deal sealed 20 minutes after the window slammed shut.
The former Gateshead man is the struggling Mariners’ top scorer this season but rumours of his departure from Blundell Park have raged throughout the January transfer window.
Speculation in the Grimsby Telegraph linked the ex-Leeds youngster with the Mariners’ local rivals Scunthorpe United but it was another Lincolnshire side who emerged as front-runners early on Deadline Day.
Sources down the A46 spoke of Danny Cowley’s interest in the 26-year-old but the Mariners turned down two bids from the Red Imps, who were prepared to use former Town here Nathan Arnold as a makeweight in the deal.
Social media was rife with speculation that Port Vale would come in as potential suitors for the wantaway player. That link was largely down to the presence of Valiants’ manager Neil Aspin, who got the best out Jones at previous club Gateshead.
But late in the day on Deadline Day, former Town boss Hurst tabled a bid that was ultimately accepted by the Mariners.
A short statement on the club’s website summarised: “Grimsby Town Football Club can confirm that it has agreed terms for the transfer of Sam Jones to Shrewsbury Town Football Club for an undisclosed fee.”
Jones played 45 games in his 12 months at Blundell Park, scoring 13 times for the club. The Barnsley-born player was a regular starter for the Mariners earlier in the season but last appeared against Newport County on Saturday 13 January, when he came on as a 89th-minute substitute.
The attack-minded midfielder made his final start for the Mariners in the previous week’s defeat to Morecambe and completed his last 90 minutes for Town against Luton before Christmas.
Before this, Jones’ final goal as a Mariner came in the 2-0 win at Barnet in late-November.