DEFENDER Darren Jones is happy to be back home but he admits Newport County AFC is a completely different club to the one he left in 2005.

The 30-year-old from Newport saw his first spell with the Exiles end after he served time in prison for assault alongside teammate Andrew Thomas.

County were then a part-time Conference South club playing at Spytty Park and Jones is delighted to return with them back in the Football League.

The centre-back has spent five years in the league with Hereford United, Aldershot Town, Shrewsbury Town and AFC Wimbledon.

He has turned down the offer of a new deal from the Dons to rejoin the Exiles, as revealed by the Argus last week.

“I’m glad to be back home,” he said. “It’s my hometown and I’m happy to be here.

“I enjoyed my time at Wimbledon. I’d been offered a new contract and the coaching staff are first class there but I’m 30 now and it was time for me to come home.

“I know Jimmy Dack from my time at Aldershot and Justin Edinburgh has got a great reputation as a manager so I just can’t wait to get going.”

Jones says the club will be targeting the League Two play-offs next season but he’d be happy with consolidation at this level having experienced the non-league days.

“Play-offs would be great but, realistically, we need to stay in this league for a few years and progress from there,” he said.

“You’ve only got to look where they’ve come from. It’s a completely different club to the one I left.

“It was proper non-league then; training once a week but it is very different now and we’re going in the right direction.”

Edinburgh is pleased to sign Jones and midfielder Yan Klukowski.

“They are proper men and they know how to play the game,” he said. “They have a lot of experience and they are to very good acquisitions for this football club.

“Darren played very well in his two games against us for AFC Wimbledon but we already knew his pedigree and I did try to sign him when I first arrived at the club.

“I think it’s very important to have some home-grown players in the team,” he added. “The fans appreciate that.

“I don’t think Darren has got unfinished business here but it certainly didn’t finish how he would have wanted it here last time.

“I’m sure he’ll want to put that right and I know he’s still got a lot of games left in him.”