NEWPORT County boss Justin Edinburgh is chasing four signings in the January transfer window, including on-loan Charlton Athletic forward Michael Smith.
The Exiles, who will host a pitch inspection of the Rodney Parade playing surface today at 9.15am, are desperate to try and continue their fine recent form and challenge for promotion.
However, also firmly on the agenda is business in the January transfer window and Edinburgh has wasted little time in identifying the players he feels can improve his squad.
The Argus can reveal County are plotting a double-swoop for two Conference strikers at the same club and have also already opened talks about extending the loan of Smith.
The Exiles will also look to add a defender and have identified the player they want. He is an attached, experienced campaigner who is understood to be available without a transfer fee.
The desire for an additional defender stems from a belief that County could play three central defenders away from home given that full-backs David Pipe and Andy Sandell are so assured going forward.
Edinburgh also favours having stacked attacking options and feels two additions are necessary with Danny Crow and Aaron O’Connor both suffering reoccurring injury troubles this season.
However, the Exiles won’t up their bid for Wimbledon’s Christian Jolley after having a five-figure offer rejected for the attacker, who is out of contract this summer.
Edinburgh was bullish in explaining his ambitious plans for the transfer window and hopes to do his deals sooner rather than later.
“I’ve talked with the directors and made it clear who I think we need to improve us and what we need to do to get those players,” he said.
“First and foremost we’d love to get an agreement to keep Michael Smith with us for longer.
“I genuinely feel that would benefit all parties. Michael is getting games, chances and experience with us and he’s settled into the squad really nicely.
“Charlton could opt to loan him elsewhere, that’s their prerogative, but I’m not sure that would necessarily benefit the player, even at a higher level.
“We also want to freshen things up in an attacking sense. I know the two players I want but there would be plenty of work to do, talking to the club and finding out if the players have an interest in moving to Wales.”
Edinburgh had previously been reluctant to add to his pool of five defenders, eventually signing Byron Anthony, but now he has revealed he wants to add another centre back.
“It comes down to the fact there is a certain individual possibly available who would be a great addition in a number of ways,” he said.
“We aren’t looking to sign a defender who would be expensive and expect to play every game, but there is one particular addition I’m interested in.”
Edinburgh admits he’s been frustrated to see two games so far fall victim to the weather over the Christmas period, but believes it’s potentially a bigger issue for some of Newport’s promotion rivals.
“Although it wasn’t good at the time, perhaps now we look at it that being out of the FA Trophy isn’t the worst thing,” he explained.
“Virtually all of the teams around us have also had games postponed, but they’ll also have to fit in the cup games, which is difficult.
“We want to push on with things in 2013, it’s been a great year for us.
“At the start of the season I’d have quite happily taken eighth place now and looked to kick on but the reality is that we are ahead of where we hoped to be.
“But that just gives us a platform to kick on and try and get up.
“If we make the right signings and can keep everyone fit, hopefully we’ll have a real go at it.”