ISMAIL Yakubu has urged his central defensive partner Gary Warren to stay at Newport County next season.
Skipper Warren is out of contract and revealed after the FA Trophy final defeat to York City at Wembley that he does not know where his future lies.
He was heavily linked with a move to League Two Chelten-ham Town last summer and is believed to be waiting to see what offers come up before committing himself to the Exiles.
But Yakubu, who is one of only six players signed up for the 2012/13 campaign so far, is keen for his captain to remain at the club.
“Gary is a very good defender and we all want him to stay,” said Yakubu, who is recovering from an operation to repair an injury to his wrist picked up last August.
“He has been immense over the last nine months, a real asset.
“I think we’ll be strengthening the midfield and the attack but defensively we were pretty good over the season.
“It may not look like it because of where we finished but compared to the teams around us we didn’t concede too many goals and Gary was obviously a big part of that.
“What we lacked was a real goal threat,” he added. “That is where we need to strengthen.”
The 27-year-old Nigerian-born defender is optimistic about next season after the club’s run to Wembley and revealed it was his good relationship with manager Justin Edinburgh that convinced him to stay.
“I get on really well with the manager,” he said.
“He believes in me and has given me a lot of confidence.
“The previous manager (Anthony Hudson, who signed Yakubu from AFC Wimbledon last summer) didn’t see me in his plans and sent me out on loan to Cambridge, but as soon as Justin came in he was very straight with me and I was pleased to sign up for another year.
“The past season hasn’t been a big success but I really think we can build on getting to Wembley and push on next season,” he added.
“York are a very good team and watching the final back again we had a lot of chances to score even before I hit the post late on.
“They have gone on to win promotion and we pushed them close so we can take confidence from that.
“Hopefully we can keep a lot of the players together and add some more quality and move onwards and upwards.”