NEWPORT County AFC manager Justin Edinburgh started the process of freshening up his squad yesterday by releasing defender Mark Cooper.

After last week’s replay defeat to Yate Town, County are out of the FA Cup and therefore have no game to plan for this weekend.

That leaves Edinburgh free to concentrate on transfer dealings and the Argus reported yesterday that he is targeting two strikers.

Despite Saturday’s 3-2 home defeat by Woking, the Exiles are still top of the Blue Square Bet Premier but Edinburgh is keen to revamp a forward line that looks to have gone stale over the last few weeks.

But any players coming in would have to be balanced by some departing Rodney Parade and the first of those is Cooper.

The full-back earned a move to County in the summer after being released by League Two Bristol Rovers last season.

He featured in pre-season but did not make a competitive appearance for County.

He was sent on loan to Frome Town earlier this month and at the time Edinburgh was keen to stress that the player was still part of his plans.

“Mark’s gone out on loan just to get out and get some minutes on the pitch to develop his game,” said Edinburgh at the start of October.

“Mark completed pre-season and he just needs time on the pitch to continue his progress and education.”

But yesterday Cooper revealed on social networking website Twitter that he would not be returning to the club.

Before stating that he had been ‘let go’ he posted a good luck message to the Exiles squad, expressing his belief that promotion is a real possibility this season.

Cooper wrote: “Just want to wish all the boys at @NewportCounty the best for the rest of the season! #promotion.”