Smith signs up for County

11:22am Tuesday 1st April 2008

By Michael Pearlman

NEWPORT County boss Peter Beadle today expressed his delight at beating the Blue Square South transfer deadline to sign Cardiff City's Matt Smith.

Left-back Smith, a Wales Under-19 international, joins on loan until the end of the season with a view to a permanent deal.

The 20-year old second-year professional, born and bred in Newport, has seen his dream of breaking through at Cardiff hampered by a knee ligament injury.

Despite handing him a first team squad number (29) and telling the press that he was a future first team player, Bluebirds boss Dave Jones has now informed Smith his future lies elsewhere.

The youngster opted to have a two-week trial with Swansea City, but despite impressing with the Swans, they're keeping their options open until the summer.

It allowed Beadle to swoop and the boss was thrilled to bring in a long-term target.

He explained: "Matt is a super young player, no doubt a future football league player.

"He's suffered through injury and I know what that is like, I missed 15 months with a knee injury, he's missed a year. He has just had a trial at Swansea and I spoke with Colin Pascoe who was very impressed with him.

"He wants a full-time deal for next season and we are in an ideal position to offer him a bit of a shop window. He's a good age, 18 months further developed that when we signed James Simpson and Kyle Bassett and is a genuine left-footer, which we are a little short with."

Beadle believes his new recruit offers him increased options.

"I think his best position is left-back, but certainly I could see a scenario where Damon Searle and Matt both play in the same side, with Damon a little further forward," he said.

"We hope Matt will still be with us next season, we will possibly be able to offer him full-time football then and he has played regularly in the reserves this season, so he's match sharp.

"With Richard Evans as well we now have three genuine left-footed players, I feel this is a good addition at the right time. Matt played against us in the FAW Premier Cup and played very well."

Beadle opted not to strengthen his squad further yesterday, despite being linked with a move for former Manchester United and Liverpool striker Ramon Calliste.

"Ramon is one I will look at again in the summer, he came on trial and really impressed us," he said. "But we have seven games left and then hopefully the playoffs and to bring someone in now, who hasn't really played football for 18 months (currently unattached) is just too much of a risk.

"You can't sign someone like Ramon and give him no time on the pitch, it's just not good timing for us."

Beadle revealed discussions are under way with several players in regard to next season, including Calliste.

"We've earmarked some players out of contract who we feel could do a job for us in either the Conference or the Conference South, but I am happy with what I have in terms of the rest of this campaign," he said.

Beadle has allowed former Bluebird Simpson to extend his loan with Mangotsfield until the end of the season, though County have insisted on a 24-hour recall clause.

"James is playing really well there, but I don't want him to just come back and sit on the bench so we're happy for him to stay with Mangotsfield to further his football education," Beadle said.


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