NEWPORT County were last night poised to announce two key signings, but captain Gary Warren is leaving the club to join a Scottish Premier League side.
The Exiles are now moving full steam ahead with squad enhancements after finally inking a deal to play at Rodney Parade from the start of the season.
Boss Justin Edinburgh and director of football Tim Harris have worked tirelessly behind the scenes on shaping the squad for next season and the first order of business was to tie midfielder David Pipe to a contract.
The Argus can reveal that former Wales international Pipe agreed a deal last week, with the announcement held back until the Rodney Parade move was finalised.
Pipe’s signing is a significant boost for County, who have already seen Sam Foley and now skipper Warren exit the club. The Exiles have also secured the services of midfielder Lee Minshull for next season.
Warren had been linked with a Bosman move to League Two outfit Cheltenham Town, but will instead travel to Scotland tomorrow to clinch a deal with a Scottish Premier outfit with a particularly high-profile manager.
County wouldn’t confirm the club, but according to other sources it is Inverness Caledonian Thistle, managed by former England captain Terry Butcher.
The Exiles have also secured the signing of a first-choice goalkeeper for next season, with Stevenage stopper Alan Julian signing on a one-year deal.
The 29-year-old experienced campaigner has had two spells with Stevenage, played 80 times for Gillingham and also began his career with Brentford.
“Alan is a player we’ve had in mind for a long while, he’s a quality goalkeeper and we’re delighted to have signed him,” boss Justin Edinburgh confirmed.
The Exiles are expecting to do plenty more business this week and striker Ryan Charles, who was on loan last term from Cambridge United, has posted on social networking site Twitter that he expects to sign a contract with County this week.
It is also known that boss Edinburgh is keen to recruit other loan players from last season in Max Porter, and also winger Romone Rose, who joined on non-contract terms last season and both featured in the FA Trophy final defeat to York.
The loss of skipper Warren is significant, but County do have a shortlist of central defenders they are interested in, with two players from that group set to be offered deals.
Director of Football Tim Harris confirmed: “We expect Gary to sign for his new club today after he’s had a medical but ultimately while we are disappointed for ourselves, we are over the moon for Gary.
“This is a huge move for him, to play in the top tier of Scottish football, and we feel proud of him after he’s been such a colossal player for us over the years.
“We have a lot going on here in terms of player recruitment and it should be a busy time for Justin.” County could have cashed in on Warren last summer when Cheltenham bid £10,000 but the Exiles felt Warren’s importance throughout the season would outweigh that valuation.
County confirmed on Saturday the appointment of Stephen Dance as their new general manager. This week in Argus Sport we bring you a full interview with him.