Exiles identify top targets

NEWPORT County’s management team are clear on their transfer targets for the new season but must get the seal of approval from the Exiles board before proceeding.

Manager Justin Edinburgh and director of football Tim Harris met yesterday to finalise a short shortlist with Edinburgh expressing a desire to sign a striker, midfielder and goalkeeper.

The Exiles are looking to seal a deal for one of three striker candidates and know exactly who they want to bring in to bolster the midfield. However, the in-demand midfield target’s wage requirement would put him at the higher end of County’s salary list after a career in the Football League.

The Exiles are also looking for a goalkeeper to provide competition for summer signing Alan Julian and current trialist Ashley Morris could well be offered terms if his capture is agreed by the money men at Rodney Parade.

The Exiles have made clear that they are operating with a lower playing budget than last season, but the Argus understands Edinburgh and Harris will attempt to convince chairman Chris Blight and his fellow director Howard Greenhaf of the importance of signing two or three more key players.

“Tim and I had a good discussion and we are clear on what we want and who we feel can help us,” Edinburgh explained.

“I don’t want to dilute the quality of the squad. We aren’t interested in bringing in players who couldn’t slot straight into the first XI because that’s something only certain clubs with huge budgets can do.

“We are very clear what we want but now it’s a case of sitting down with the money men and discussing what is feasible.

“Ideally we’d like to make our moves sooner rather than later, hopefully we can do something this week but I’m really not sure of the time frame.”

The Exiles are suffering a mini-injury crisis at the moment and as such have decided to send a youth team for their friendly tomorrow at Moreton Rangers (kick-off 7.15pm).

The first team will all play at Evesham United on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3pm).

“That’s regrettable, we wanted to split it up a bit but we’ve got too many players out,” Edinburgh added.

The Exiles will no doubt be cursing their rotten luck after TWO of their new signings injured each other less than 10 minutes into last Friday’s 3-1 defeat at Undy Athletic.

Goalkeeper Julian and defender Tony James collided with each other and neither player has been able to train this week.

The Exiles are also without Jake Harris and Jefferson Louis with muscle injuries and another forward, Ryan Charles, has picked up a minor hamstring strain.

None of the injuries are likely to preclude players from the big Conference kick-off on August 11 when the Exiles travel to Mansfield Town. And County’s walking wounded should also be in contention for the three home friendlies with Bristol Rovers, Swansea City and Yeovil on July 24, July 31 and August 3 respectively.

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