NEWPORT County AFC concluded a hectic transfer deadline day last night having sold Lee Evans and brought in two midfielders in his place.
Championship giants Wolverhampton Wanderers sealed a deal to take 18-year-old midfielder Evans to Molineux for an undisclosed fee yesterday morning.
Wolves stipulated in the contract that the fee would remain secret but County insist it was a good deal for the club and the player.
Dean Saunders’ side had two bids for Evans rejected by the Exiles in the past week and were only successful with a third, which it is believed could eventually reach the £100,000 mark with add-ons and a sell-on clause. There is also the possibility of a pre-season friendly between the clubs this summer as part of the deal.
County manager Justin Edinburgh wasted no time in bringing in replacements.
He swiftly agreed a move for Will Evans to join on loan from Hereford United until the end of the season.
The versatile 21-year-old can play as a full-back, centre-back or midfielder and will be available for tomorrow’s home match against Kidderminster Harriers (kick-off 3.15pm) after his international clearance came through last night.
With Lee Evans having departed and Max Porter ruled out for up to four weeks with a groin injury, the 6ft 2ins former Swindon Town man is likely to be needed in midfield initially.
And he is joined at Rodney Parade by former Queens Park Rangers, Swansea City and Aldershot Town player Scott Donnelly.
The 25-year-old attacking midfielder, most recently with Farnborough, was confirmed as a County player this morning on a short-term contract until the end of the season after a deal was done in the final hour of the transfer window last night.
Edinburgh had been keen to sign Harry Pell from Hereford once it became clear that interest in Lee Evans was hotting up but that move was scuppered when the Bulls midfielder instead opted to join League Two AFC Wimbledon last week.
“We have kept a close eye on the situation regarding Lee and did not want to be caught short going into the second half of the season,” said the Exiles boss.
“Will can play centre-back or centre-midfield and he will strengthen the squad. Will is a player that we have watched and he is the right sort of player to come to the club.”
Edinburgh is delighted for Lee Evans and insisted the club could not stand in the way of such a promising young talent once an acceptable deal had been agreed with Wolves.
“It’s an unbelievable club and a great move for Lee, we’re all really pleased for him,” said Edinburgh.
“I think he’s capable of making the step up. He’s got a bright future for him and there’s no reason why, if he keeps a level head, that he can’t play in the Championship and higher.
“Sometimes we forget that he’s only 18 and he’s shown incredible character to be as consistent as he has.
“As soon as he got in the team and played so well in the FA Trophy final at Wembley teams were looking at him.
“A few teams wanted to take him for training with their squads but I didn’t feel that was right for the club,” he added.
“But the glove fits with Wolves. Lee felt as I did that is was a move he couldn’t turn down.
“We couldn’t have stood in his way and we got the right deal for the club and for the player.
“It’s a fantastic deal for the club and we all wish him every success in his career.”
With two midfielders arriving it appears unlikely that Jake Thomson will return from his loan spell at Lincoln City any time soon.
“Lincoln want to extend the deal for Jake and I think it would be wise for him to continue to get games there at the moment,” said Edinburgh.