Football: Barnsley unmoved by Rovers' Ward bid

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The Independent Online
BRIAN KIDD has made a pounds 4m bid to make Ashley Ward his first signing for Blackburn Rovers. The new manager at Ewood Park has contacted Barnsley with an offer for their highly rated striker. Kidd wants to bring Ward into the survival battle where his goals almost kept the Yorkshire club in the top flight against the odds last season.

Ward is keen to go to the Premier League again and will be interested in Blackburn. Leeds and Leicester were already in the hunt before Kidd took the Rovers' job.

Jack Walker has promised Kidd money to save the club this season and their entry to the chase makes them favourites to sign the wanted man, Ward. However, the Barnsley manager, John Hendrie, is fighting to keep hold of his star player.

He said: "I want to keep Ashley as long as I can. We have rejected Blackburn's approach. In my mind, there is no point in selling him. There is no way he will be leaving while we have a chance of the play-offs."

However, Blackburn are likely to make a renewed and increased bid this week and, with Ward saying that he is keen to leave, Hendrie has a tough battle on his hands.

Kidd's move suggests that he is not happy with the strike force that he has inherited. There are now question marks over their futures, with new boy Nathan Blake under the most pressure. But record buy, Kevin Davies, and even Chris Sutton could be looking over their shoulders if Ward arrives in the next few days.

Ward is currently finishing a four-game suspension for his second red card of the season, but those disciplinary problems do not worry Kidd. The Blackburn manager likes Ward's attitude and the way he leads the line, qualities that shone through in the top flight with Barnsley.