NEWPORT County’s newest recruit Byron Anthony admits he wouldn’t have even considered joining the Exiles a year ago, but now believes his hometown club are on the cusp of the big time.
The former Cardiff City and Bristol Rovers defender has finally signed for the Rodney Parade outfit after weeks of speculation, penning a short-term deal until January following a brief spell at cash-strapped Hereford United.
Yesterday was a busy day for boss Justin Edinburgh who also completed the loan signing of AFC Wimbledon forward Christian Jolley, the Exiles having been in talks over the player for the past fortnight.
Jolley was made Edinburgh’s top priority when a deal for Aldershot’s Alex Rodman fell through and his sustained interest has helped to land a sought-after player, with League One strugglers Portsmouth also keen.
Negotiations are also under way with unnamed clubs for transfer-listed trio Jefferson Louis, Ryan Charles and Jake Harris, all three players having already attracted interest.
Defender Anthony, who is not suspended and is available for Saturday, admits he’s thrilled to have completed a career target in joining his hometown club.
“For me it was always something I wanted to do, I was very determined it would happen at some point, I have always hoped to play for County,” he said.
“I’ve had good times as a Football League player, 11 years and though I want to continue playing at the highest level, this move comes at the right time. A year ago I wouldn’t have wanted necessarily to come back but the club is clearly going places and are top of the league for a reason.
“And with our infrastructure and our support, there is definitely the potential to be a Football League club and that’s what we are all determined to achieve.”
Anthony was close to joining a League One club back in the summer only for it to fall through at the final hurdle. A brief spell with Hereford followed, but they couldn’t keep him on due to financial difficulties.
“It’s not been ideal, the summer was tough and it’s hard as a footballer not being able to do what you love when you’re fit and raring to go,” he said.
“I’ve had a few down moments, but you need to just believe in yourself and I hoped this (a move to Newport) might happen.
“There is so much potential at this club to push forward and I want to play my part. I’m 28, I’ve got plenty of experience and can’t wait to get going.”
Edinburgh, who is preparing his side for tomorrow’s home clash with relegation threatened Hyde, was delighted with his double capture.
“Byron has really impressed me, he’s trained well and we are delighted to have him in the group,” he said.
“Christian is a player we’ve looked at for a long time and feel gives us good options as it’s no secret we’ve wanted to refresh our attacking options for a while now.
“Obviously loan moves are the way to go at this time in the season and we feel pleased having also managed to sign Michael Smith on loan from Darlington.”