doc

NEWPORT County have boosted their ranks with the signing of Cambridge United winger Robbie Willmott and are continuing to push for the signature of AFC Wimbledon striker Christian Jolley.

The Argus can reveal that Willmott took part in his first training session with his new club yesterday and put pen to paper shortly afterwards on an 18-month contract.

While the fee for Willmott has been announced as undisclosed, the Argus understands that there is no payment up front and any future fee is dependent on the Exiles gaining promotion to League Two.

County are also understood to have re-opened talks with the Dons over boss Justin Edinburgh’s principle target, Jolley.

The forward scored five goals in five appearances on loan at Newport and the club had a bid, understood to have been around £20,000 turned down just before Christmas with the League Two strugglers understood to be seeking nearly double that amount.

Boss Edinburgh subsequently ended negotiations and since then Forest Green Rovers, Luton Town, Dartford and Wrexham are all believed to have been in discussions over the player.

However, the Argus understands that Jolley favours a return to Rodney Parade and talks will continue as County look to land a real coup by completing the deal for a player coveted by their rivals.

Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley seemed to open the door to a Jolley departure by commenting yesterday (when asked whether Newport and Forest Green Rovers were interested).

“Christian has to be realistic and make sure he gets the right deal,” he said.

“If he wants to go out and be a star player then he needs to look at one of those clubs. It is in Christian’s hands, we’ve said we’re happy to let him go if the fee is right.”

Willmott signs in time to face Lincoln tomorrow and boss Edinburgh believes his signing represents a significant coup for County, Willmott having featured in the playoffs, been selected in the Conference team of the season, played for England C and commanded a £50,000 transfer fee, and he’s still only 22.

He explained: “Every time I have come across him as a manager he has caused havoc and he is one that I have kept an eye on him.

“He can play on either wing or through the middle and that gives us an extra dimension.

“This is a signing we feel of real quality and he’s someone who adds to the squad.

“I’ve said before and will reiterate, January is a really terrible time to try and make signings,” he said. “Normally it’s hard to get the right players in, which is why this deal is so pleasing.”

Willmott is a former teammate of both Aaron O’Connor and Danny Crow at Luton Town and O’Connor took to Twitter within minutes of him signing to praise the move.

County’s leading scorer posted: “Buzzing my ex-teammate and good pal Robbie Willmott has signed for us today. #Welcometothefamil.y”