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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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AFC snap up England C striker

BARROW AFC have moved quickly to replace departed top-scorer Jason Walker by snapping up former England C striker John Grant.

Walker left the Bluebirds on Wednesday night, joining Luton Town for a Barrow club record fee, believed to be around £45,000.

AFC yesterday completed the signing of 29-year-old Grant, whose goals led Aldershot Town to the Conference title three seasons ago.

Manchester-born free agent Grant, who has been training with Barrow for the last couple of weeks, has joined, initially, on non-contract terms.

He turned down three other northern-based Conference Premier clubs.

Grant, who will wear the number 28 jersey, was set to be in the squad that travelled to Blundell Park to face Grimsby Town today.

Barrow joint-boss Dave Bayliss is excited by the prospect of seeing Grant in a Barrow but says the new signing should not be compared to Walker.

“I don’t think you can compare the two players,” said Bayliss.

“It’s like when we sold Steve McNulty to Fleetwood and brought in Phil Bolland. People were comparing the two but, really, they are different types of players, doing different jobs, both effective in their own way.

“With Phil Bolland in the side last season we kicked-on and ended up winning the FA Trophy. I’m not saying it was just down to Bolly, it wasn’t, but he played a big role in our success last season.

“Some might have said we wouldn’t achieve things without Steve McNulty, but we did. Likewise, we can still achieve things without Jason Walker, and we will do that.”

Grant, who was also once a promising basketball player, started his career at Crewe Alexandra and made his debut against Crystal Palace on the opening day of the 1999-2000 season.

He had loan spells at Hyde United and Northwich before joining Hereford. Stays at the now defunct Telford United, Shrewsbury and Halifax Town followed before a move to Aldershot in 2006.

Grant netted 23 times in his first season at the Recreation Ground, then hit 25 as the Shots won the 2007/08 Conference title. He then played in the Football League with Aldershot before being released last summer. A deal to join AFC Wimbledon fell through and now he has joined Barrow.

Bayliss said: “He won the Conference with Aldershot and has scored lots of goals wherever he has been.

“We’re confident that he’ll kick on with us now.

“He’s different to Jason in that he’s probably a bit tougher in that respect, and he has a few more parts to his game.”

lThe Bluebirds will discover their first opponents in defence of their FA Trophy crown when the first round draw for this season’s competition is made on Monday morning.

All Blue Square Bet Premier teams join the competition in the first round, which will be regionalised into north and south sections.

This weekend sees the third qualifying round ties take place, as Blue Square Bet North and South clubs enter the fray.

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