Bristol Rovers face transfer tug-of-war as rival clubs take interest in star

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The Gas have opened talks with Grant Ward - but others are said to hold an interest

Bristol Rovers are reportedly facing competition to keep hold of midfielder Grant Ward, who does not have a contract beyond this summer.

Ward signed a short-term deal with the Gas in January and consistently figured in Joey Barton’s plans since his arrival. The 28-year-old joined after his deal with Blackpool expired but he is out-of-contract at the end of the season.

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Darren Witcoop, the Sunday Mirror Sports News Editor, says that Ward is ‘attracting interest’ from rival League One clubs. It is unsure which clubs are interested in Ward, but it could make keeping him at the Memorial Stadium slightly more difficult.

Rovers have all but secured survival in the third tier and have begun contract talks with those out-of-contract at the end of the season. Ward has made 14 appearances and started the last eight games and signing a new deal would allow for continuity for next year’s hopeful promotion challenge.

When asked about Ward and other out-of-contract players, Barton said: “We’ll start speaking to those boys now as we are approaching securing League One status so it is natural we will start having conversations with our lads, Wardy being one of them.

"He has been superb since he came in, he has grown from game to game and now he has added spectacular goalscoring moments, which we were hoping was the next piece of the jigsaw. Long may that continue.

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"He is the right cultural fit for us, the way he works and approaches training and the gym. He’s settled into the group and he has been a huge plus in our season. We will definitely be sitting down and trying to convince him that Bristol Rovers is his future."

The former Tottenham Hotspur trainee has proved his fitness to Barton and the coaching staff, having arrived at the Mem with a history of injury setbacks. He had played just 161 minutes of football this season before arriving and hadn't played in more than two months before making his debut against Morecambe. Ward did not play for a year after rupturing his Achilles tendon in August 2021, but has yet to miss a game for Rovers.

In addition to his story about Ward, Witcoop also said that former Rovers loanee Josh Ginnelly is attracting interest from Championship and League One clubs.

Ginelly is currently with Hearts but is out-of-contract at the Edinburgh club this summer. He has got nine goals and four assists in all competitions this season and that has earned recognition from English clubs.

The 26-year-old made nine appearances for Rovers in 2019/20, scoring against Blackpool in a 2-1 win. His loan was cut short after the season was ended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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