U's up the ante on Jones

COLCHESTER United yesterday dramatically increased their bid for Hibernian's giant defender, Rob Jones, but it was still not enough to lure him away from Easter Road.

Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United yesterday dramatically increased their bid for Hibernian's giant defender, Rob Jones, but it was still not enough to lure him away from Easter Road.

The U's are believed to have made an offer in excess of �200,000 for the 6ft 7ins centre-half, having had an offer of �100,000 turned down by the Edinburgh-based club earlier in the month.

But United are set to face stiff competition from the quartet of Sheffield United, Nottingham Forest, Bristol City and Leicester City, who all want to sign the much-respected Hibs club captain.


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Hibs have made it very clear that they don't want to sell Jones, and the player himself still has 18 months left on his current contract.

However, it is no secret that Jones, who led Hibernian to the CIS Insurance Cup in his very first season at the club, would like to return south of the border.

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And U's boss Paul Lambert wants to bolster the heart of his defence. The Scotsman has already missed out on one of his targets, following Mike Williamson's move from Wycombe to Watford on a three-and-a-half-year deal on Monday.

Jones is certainly bang in form, at both ends of the pitch. He scored his fourth goal of the season in the 3-1 defeat by Celtic last weekend, and he is clearly flattered by all the interest shown in him from English clubs.

“People are not going to get interested if you are not doing well and not doing the right things. It shows you are doing your job properly,” admitted Jones.

“There is not a lot I can do about people speculating. That's someone else's prerogative.”

The 29-year-old was a relatively later starter in the professional game. He was a defensive lynch-pin at Gateshead before moving into the Football League with Stockport and then Grimsby.

Hibernian were reported to have turned down the U's second bid for Jones last night.

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