FORMER Newport County AFC hero Mark Aizlewood says the club is making a massive mistake in allowing local talent Christian Doidge to sign for a League Two rival.
Newport-born Aizlewood, who started his career at County and won 39 caps for Wales, is now manager of Carmarthen Town in the Welsh Premier League and he claims Doidge is a star in the making.
The 21-year-old striker, born in Cwmbran and a former favourite at Croesyceiliog, has been a big hit since moving west to Carmarthen.
His potential saw him earn a trial at County, the club he supported as a boy, last season but Exiles boss Justin Edinburgh has not followed up on his initial interest.
And Doidge now looks set to complete a move to Dagenham & Redbridge, a deal that will come back to haunt County according to Aizlewood.
“If County allow Christian to go to Dagenham it will be the biggest mistake they’ve made since they failed to secure a sell-on fee when John Aldridge left,” said the 54-year-old who also played for Charlton Athletic, Leeds United and Cardiff City.
“I’ve played in the top division and international football but this lad is the best I’ve seen in the air at any level.
“The perception is that the Welsh Premier League is rubbish but this kid has got a lot of talent and he’s a County fan but they’re going to let him go to Dagenham.
“I can’t believe it. I’ve spoken to Justin about Christian and he says he hasn’t got any money,” he added.
“But they could get him for peanuts and he’d play for County for a three-figure salary. He lives in Cwmbran so he’s right on their doorstep but they’re not giving him a chance.”
Exiles boss Edinburgh says his priority this summer was to strengthen in other areas.
“We had a look at Doidge and he’s obviously a talent,” said Edinburgh.
“If things had been different this summer and we’d lost Chris Zebroski or Aaron O’Connor or whoever for whatever reason then maybe we would have moved for the boy.
“But we’ve got eight strikers already and we had no room for anyone else. We had different priorities – we needed to sign a centre-half and strengthen midfield.
“It wasn’t a flippant decision and it wasn’t a snub to Carmarthen at all,” he added.
“We know his pedigree and we know he’s doing well at Dagenham but we just weren’t in a position to sign another striker.”
Dagenham & Redbridge manager Wayne Burnett is keen on the Gwent youngster, however.
“Christian has done very well. He’s still only young, people don’t actually realise he is 21,” said Burnett.
“He has got a very good work ethic and we are going to keep monitoring him and see where we go from there.”