NEWPORT County boss Justin Edinburgh has swooped to sign a replacement for departed skipper Gary Warren.
The squad reshaping at County is now in full flow and the Argus can reveal Newport are also closing in on FIVE other deals this week as Edinburgh prepares for the new campaign, the Exiles’ first at Rodney Parade.
County have moved to sign free agent Tony James, a Wales semi-pro international who has spent the past five seasons with Burton Albion, to replace Warren, who has joined Scottish Premier League side Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Cwmbran-born James, 32, is a veteran of over 400 games, many of them at Conference level after eight seasons with Hereford United, and is described by Edinburgh as “a ball playing centre-back.” He has inked a one-year deal with the option of a second season after two weeks of negotiations.
There is also good news for the Exiles from within the squad that ended last season with popular left-sided utility player Andy Sandell likely to pen a new deal today. The Argus understands terms have been agreed for Sandell who will also sign a one-year deal.
Boss Edinburgh has also described as “imminent,” the capture of free agent Max Porter, who was on loan at Spytty Park last term.
The Argus can also reveal Edinburgh will have talks on Friday with a long-standing striker target, with another forward also being lined up. Both players will be familiar to County fans and would likely be greeted with approval should they agree to join.
Edinburgh is also in talks to finalise a deal with a third central defender to compete with James and Ismail Yakubu.
However, County have missed out on former Stevenage attacking midfielder Stacy Long who has signed for AFC Wimbledon despite holding talks with the Exiles.
Edinburgh will now turn his attentions elsewhere.
It has still been a productive week for the boss after the capture on Monday of midfielder Jake Thomson and striker Jefferson Louis and he was happy with what has been achieved.
“It’s been a big week for us and the signing of Tony James is another feather in the cap, we think he’ll be an excellent capture for the football club,” he said.
“I would describe Tony as a footballing centre half and he’s someone who has been there and done it and won the league at this level.
“I have no problem at all looking to develop players, as I’ve shown with Andrew Hughes and Lee Evans, but you need to strike the right balance.
“Tony is an established and experienced player with the desire to make a big impression here and that is important.
“He cares deeply about his football and I think he’ll be a good man to have around the place.”
Edinburgh has also moved to dismiss a report by the BBC about striker Elliott Buchanan.
Buchanan has signed for Conference South side Boreham Wood and it was described as the Exiles losing “a third key player,” after Warren and Sam Foley signed for Inverness and Yeovil respectively.
“I am a bit angry about that story and want to address it so our supporters know what is going on,” he said.
“We haven’t ‘lost’ Buchanan, we decided to release him and he wasn’t offered another deal here.”
One striker who is under contract at Newport is Craig McAllister. However, the Argus has learned that McAllister will remain transfer listed as he was for much of last season, though Edinburgh won’t freeze him out if no move materialises. McAllister is contracted until July 2013.