NEWPORT County boss Justin Edinburgh will celebrate today when he lands his top summer target, the returning hero Mike Flynn.
The Exiles boss is on the brink of wrapping up his major summer business.
Yesterday he secured the signing of Luton striker Aaron O’Connor – as reported in Monday’s Argus – and ex-Football League stalwart Flynn will meet the County hierarchy today at Rodney Parade to finalise his move.
It would appear the battle is won in convincing midfielder Flynn to drop out of the Football League where he has been plying his trade for the past decade since moving on from spells with County and Barry Town and Wigan Athletic.
Flynn spent three years with Wigan and won the Division Two title before signing for Gillingham, then in the Championship, where he played over 100 games.
Since then Flynn has been based in the north west with spells at Blackpool, Huddersfield Town and, most recently, three years with Bradford City.
County first tried to tempt Flynn home last summer. He was the main target of then boss Anthony Hudson but amid interest from several clubs Flynn was offered improved terms to stay at Valley Parade.
He is a close friend of County’s director of football Tim Harris – the pair also share a birthday – and the Argus has been aware of Newport’s interest in the player for the past 12 months.
Boss Edinburgh shared Hudson’s admiration for Flynn but the Exiles’ reduced playing budget for next term looked likely to again scupper the deal as talks stalled in recent weeks.
Flynn had more lucrative offers that wouldn’t have required him to drop out of the Football League, but the 31-year old is understood to be relishing the challenge of leading County into League Two. He was a spectator at the Exiles’ 2-0 friendly victory over Bristol Rovers on Tuesday and has been impressed with Edinburgh’s vision for the club.
O’Connor’s arrival, also revealed in Monday’s Argus, further strengthens County’s attacking options and reunites Edinburgh with a third former forward.
The ex-Tottenham defender managed him at Rushden and Diamonds along with Ryan Charles and Jefferson Louis, making O’Connor his captain.
It is understood O’Connor fought hard with the Hatters to ensure his release and a chance to star at Rodney Parade.
“Both players are key to our plans for next season and will provide our squad with a real boost,” Edinburgh explained.
“We wanted to ensure we only signed players who would enhance us and I feel that’s all we’ve done. It’s been a case of quality over quantity.”
The Exiles will now look to use the loan market for any further additions. Some County fans are urging the club to sign a centre back, but a permanent acquisition of a defender seems unlikely.
Edinburgh has close ties with Cardiff City’s management duo Malky Mackay and ex-Spurs teammate David Kerslake and has hinted that the Bluebirds may again look to loan Newport a young player, as they did last term with Nat Jarvis.
“Once we’ve completed the two deals (meaning O’Connor and Flynn) we can have a look around and think about potential loan deals,” Edinburgh said.