NEWPORT County boss Justin Edinburgh believes he’s pulled off a major transfer coup by getting Chris Zebroski to renew his contract at Rodney Parade.
The Exiles revealed yesterday that although the deals aren’t yet formally signed, Zebroski, goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley, defenders Ismail Yakubu and Andy Sandell, midfielders Lee Minshull and Max Porter and striker Danny Crow have all agreed terms for next season.
They join Jamie Stephens, Andrew Hughes, Ryan Jackson, Adam Chapman, Robbie Willmott, Christian Jolley, Rene Howe, Aaron O’Connor, Shaun Jeffers and Joe Parker in being tied to Rodney Parade for another year, taking Newport’s squad to 17.
And the Argus can reveal that both Mike Flynn and Byron Anthony are expected to meet with boss Edinburgh next week.
Flynn is set for a dual role as a player/youth coach and Anthony will be offered terms as long as his injury rehabilitation is progressing well.
Edinburgh is also in talks with “three or four,” players about joining the Exiles and as revealed by Argus Sport, one is former defender Darren Jones.
However, it’s renewals that have dominated Edinburgh’s thinking for the past week and he’s thrilled to have retained the core of his squad, especially Argus Player of the Year Zebroski, who struck 14 times in League Two despite a three-month injury lay-off.
“I’m absolutely delighted to have the commitment from Chris, because I didn’t see it as being certain by any means that he’d stay,” he said.
“Anyone who has a season like the one he had, is going to attract glances from elsewhere and sometimes, with the best will in the world, you can’t keep players.
“We’ve had it before with both Sam Foley (Yeovil) and Gary Warren (Inverness Caledonian Thistle) where even though you want them to stay, it isn’t possible.
“But Chris is committed, as the other players who are renewing are too; they’ve got unfinished business in terms of the levels we were at in the first half of the season.
“I firmly believe the nucleus of this squad can take us forward and now it’s about adding to it.”
Edinburgh is coming to Newport next week to finalise terms with the players listed above and to hopefully agree deals with both Anthony and Flynn.
However, County are also hopeful of announcing some new signings next week to bolster their ranks.
Edinburgh is currently in discussions with four players, believed to be two defenders and two midfielders.
However, it is uncertain as to whether Darcy Blake, the Wales international, will remain with the club.
Edinburgh has made clear he’d like to keep Blake, the former Cardiff and Palace defender who enjoyed a non-contract spell with the Exiles this term.
However, no agreement has been reached yet and though Edinburgh maintained he was “hopeful,” common ground can be found, no deal is imminent.