Exiles to sign Canadian goalkeeper before Saturday

FIRST TEAM SQUAD: Youngster Kyle Patten has been promoted by Justin Edinburgh

FIRST TEAM SQUAD: Youngster Kyle Patten has been promoted by Justin Edinburgh

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NEWPORT County AFC manager Justin Edinburgh hopes to sign a back-up goalkeeper on a short-term deal before Saturday’s League Two opener against Wycombe Wanderers.

Canadian international and former Vancouver Whitecaps and Huddersfield Town ‘keeper Simon Thomas played for the Exiles against a West Ham United under-21 side on Saturday.

He also featured for a development squad against Port Talbot Town last night and Edinburgh is keen to have him on the bench on Saturday as back-up to number one Lenny Pidgeley.

Regular deputy Jamie Stephens is recovering well from an operation on his quad muscle late last season but will not be fit for a few weeks.

“Jamie is doing really well,” said Edinburgh. “He’s ahead of schedule but he won’t be ready for the start of the season.

“We’re in talks with Simon Thomas to see if we can do a short-term deal with him, similar to what we did with James Bittner this time last year.

“Simon played at Port Talbot again last night and we’ll look to get that sorted before Saturday.

“We know when Jamie’s going to be ready but we don’t want to be going into the season with only one ‘keeper. We don’t want to be taking chances at this stage of the season.”

Goalkeeper aside, Edinburgh confirmed that he will have to ship players out before he can bring anyone else in.

But he insists he is pretty content with the way his squad looks four days before the campaign starts at Rodney Parade.

“I’m more than happy with the way the squad looks,” said the Exiles boss.

“We’ve got good balance. The players that we’ve bought in have made us better.

“And we’ve got players back like Aaron O’Connor who are like new signings.

“We’ve also added Kyle Patten to the group now on non-contract terms.

“He’s done very well in pre-season and proved his fitness so we’ve given him an opportunity to prove himself and to show he’s come back from a bad injury and a major operation on his back.

“It also shows that we have got some good boys coming through this youth system and it’s worth its weight in gold.

“I hope that he can be another one who can progress into the first team with us or move one elsewhere and have a good career.”

Like any manager, however, Edinburgh is always open to any opportunity that comes along.

“I’m always looking to improve the squad because if you don’t then you stand still and if you do that you end up going backwards,” he added.

“But before anyone else comes in there will be adjustments that need to be made.

“We’re up to the full allocation with the budget so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that if I want to bring anyone else in then someone will have to go out on loan or move on from the club.

“As we speak that doesn’t look like happening but I know that the phone can ring at any time for any of my players.”

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