NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn believes he has tied down the best goalkeeper and the best defender in League Two after Joe Day and Mark O’Brien signed new deals to stay at the club.
Day, voted players’ player of the year, and Great Escape goal hero O’Brien (below) have both agreed new two-year contracts at Rodney Parade.
Flynn has also signed up striker Marlon Jackson for a further year as well as welcoming back two former Exiles stars on new permanent deals.
David Pipe, who enjoyed a successful return on loan as Flynn’s team battled the odds to beat the drop, has signed a one-year deal.
And Robbie Willmott, part of the 2013 promotion team, is back on a two-year contract two years after he was shown the door by Terry Butcher.
“I’m delighted that these lads have signed,” said Flynn.
“They’re all hungry to do well for the football club and they all live close.
“That’s a big thing for us because we need them to feel the passion of the fans and the buzz around the city in order for them to give their all for the football club.”
Both Day and O’Brien had offers to go elsewhere and Flynn is delighted that they have committed themselves to County.
“We had good talks straight away and I told them how much I wanted to keep them,” he said.
“I think we’ve got the best defender in the league and the best goalkeeper.
“I might be a little bit biased on that but as the art of defending goes there’s not many better than Mark O’Brien.
“He’s written his name in the history of the club and I’m delighted to keep him, it’s huge.
“He’s another leader and he’s the right age so I’m buzzing to have him – he’s outstanding.
“And Joe I thought was outstanding last season in tough times and I’m really pleased that we’ve managed to keep hold of him.”
On 33-year-old Pipe (above), Flynn said: “He’s professional on and off the pitch and he’s somebody that the boys respect and listen to and he played very well at the end of the season.
“He’s earned his new deal – there’s no sentiment in there just because I know him and played with him.
“I’m as delighted to have him as I am all the others.
“He knows what it means to play for the football club and the effort that needs to be shown day in and day out.
“He’s someone who gives his all in training and leads by example and you can’t get enough of those players.”
Flynn is also excited to welcome Willmott (above) back to the club.
“He’s a great lad,” said the Exiles boss. “Myself and Hats [coach Wayne Hatswell] know him very well and we know we can get the best out of him.
“He’s just had a very successful season with Chelmsford and he adds pace and assists and goals.
“And he gives us a lot of scope to change things because he’s very adaptable. He’s a great utility player for us.
“I think his best position is wide in a front three but I’ve also seen him have very good games at wing-back and as the top of a midfield diamond.
“He’s just turned 27 and I think he knows this is his last chance in professional football but I know we can get the best out of him and if we do that we will have a player on our hands.”