NEWPORT County are being linked with a move for their out of contract former central defender Darren Jones, writes Michael Pearlman.

The 30-year old joined Newport in 2004 after his release at Cheltenham Town but his spell with the Exiles ended acrimoniously with Jones and his teammate Andrew Thomas both jailed for an assault in a Newport nightspot.

Jones served a couple of months before his release and while Thomas rejoined (then Conference South) County, Jones opted to move to Forest Green.

He’s barely looked back since in almost a decade in the Football League, Jones playing for Hereford, Aldershot and then Shrewsbury under Graham Turner.

However, the Newport-boy has now left the Shrews after playing 57 games for them and admits he wasn’t the one calling the shots.

Jones, who made 17 appearances this season, had the remaining five months of his contract paid up by the club.

"The decision wasn't taken lightly but I had no choice really," Jones told BBC Radio Shropshire.

"That's football - I need to be playing games at 30 years of age."

Jones was told at the start of the season that he would be third choice centre-back.

"If I was to stay here and then sat on the bench for the rest of the season I think I would have found it very difficult to get a team next season," he added.

"I had an option on my contract that if I started 30 games then I'd stay another year but I knew I wasn't going to feature for the 30 games.

"I'm sad to be going and I wish the fans, the players and everyone at the club all the best and I hope they can maintain their League One status."

Just 24 hours after Jones’ release, boss Turner quit the club.

County have made no comment on whether they’d be interested in reuniting with former captain Jones, but it is understood the player would be receptive to a return to Newport.