CHRISTIAN Jolley says it’s vital that teammate Chris Zebroski stays at Newport County AFC after an impressive first season at the club, writes Andrew Penman.

Jolley has struggled with form and fitness since firing County to promotion from the Conference 12 months ago and Aaron O’Connor has seen injury ruin his maiden League Two campaign.

The goalscoring onus has therefore been on Zebroski, particularly since Conor Washington’s departure in January, and he’s responded superbly.

The 27-year-old is the Exiles’ top scorer with 13 goals despite being sidelined with a dislocated kneecap and associated ligament damage between November 9 and February 15.

Jolley has just two goals this season – one against Accrington Stanley on the opening day of the season and one against Wycombe earlier this month.

The next best are Washington, who netted seven times before his move to Peterborough United, and Robbie Willmott with six goals.

Jolley is full of praise for Zebroski’s contribution this season and is hoping that the club will agree a new deal to keep him at Rodney Parade.

“Chris has been brilliant,” said Jolley. “He feeds off scraps and gets goals out of nothing and that’s what he’s done all season.

“His work rate is relentless and he’s a big asset so fingers crossed with him in the mix for next season we’ll have lots of options going forward.”

One man who won’t be at the club next season is former captain David Pipe after he was released last week.

Both Jolley and fellow striker O’Connor are sad to see him go.

“He was very open and welcoming when I came to the club and he helped me a lot off the pitch in settling in,” said Jolley.

“He’ll be a massive miss because he’s been a big part of the success over the last few years.

“He’s been the catalyst on the pitch because he works so hard and he gets everyone going.

“It’s difficult to see him go and we wish him all the best. Hopefully he doesn’t come back to haunt us.”

O’Connor added: “David’s a good friend of mine. He was one of the people I spoke to before I joined the club because I knew him from his Notts County days.

“He’s been our captain and we’ll miss him and we won’t look forward to facing him next year.”