Double boost for Exiles boss ahead of Southend clash
NEWPORT County AFC manager Justin Edinburgh received a big boost ahead of tomorrow’s home clash with Southend United as both Conor Washington and Andrew Hughes agreed new contracts to stay at the club.
The talented youngsters have both signed new deals to remain at Rodney Parade until at least the end of the 2014/15 season.
And Edinburgh says the pair, who were not first choice players in August, have been rewarded for making themselves a key part of County’s assault on League Two.
Defender Hughes, aged 21, has been a regular at centre-back having struggled to claim a starting place last season.
And striker Washington, also 21, has taken advantage of injuries to Aaron O’Connor and Christian Jolley to shine up front, scoring three times so far this season.
“I think it is very much deserved,” said Edinburgh. “The two of them have excelled this season and they’ve certainly earned their reward in being given new contracts.
“We’re delighted to have persuaded them to have put pen to paper and extend their stay at the football club.
“At the start of the season they probably wouldn’t have thought that they would have made as many appearances as they have.
“But they’ve taken their opportunities and neither have looked back. They’ve both been stand out performers this season.”
Edinburgh believes that the duo have every chance to play at a higher level but insisted that the new deals were not motivated by financial concerns.
“They’ve both got the right ingredients to be top players,” said the Exiles boss. “They both want to better themselves every day.
“Their attitude is great and they have a lot still to learn but, knowing the characters they are, they will only get better.
“But it wasn’t so much about protecting the club because both are under 24 so we would always have been due compensation if they were to move on and were out of contract.
“First and foremost it was because they deserve new contracts,” he added.
“It was about rewarding their performances but I always want to make sure we keep our best players at the club.
“They are big assets and I’m pleased that they’re tied down until 2015.”
Hughes is likely to be fit to start against Southend tomorrow having shaken off a hamstring strain.
He could come in for Billy Jones with Robbie Willmott set to continue at left wing-back.
Jolley is expected to play some part from the bench having been an unused substitute for the 0-0 draw at Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday night.
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