NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn has admitted it was a difficult decision to release former Wales international Andrew Crofts this week.

The pair have been good friends since playing together at Gillingham between 2005 and 2007 and that relationship was a key factor in Crofts’ decision to move to Rodney Parade last summer.

Flynn made his old friend captain at the start of the season and the signing was hailed as a coup for the Exiles.

“Croftsy is one of my best friends in football,” said the manager at the time.

“We’ve always kept in contact. He’s a gentleman and he’s somebody I trust a lot. So signing him was really a no-brainer.

“Andrew coming in is a massive signing for the club.

“He’s the ultimate professional and he’s in fantastic condition.”

But the veteran midfielder, who turned 35 yesterday, made just 12 appearances in an injury-ravaged season at Rodney Parade.

His last involvement was a six-minute cameo in the play-off semi-final first leg against Mansfield Town.

He was an unused substitute for the defeat to Tranmere Rovers in the Wembley final last Saturday.

And the club announced on Tuesday that Crofts’ County career was over after just one season.

“It was a difficult decision because Andrew is someone who brings a lot of qualities to the squad, on and off the pitch,” said Flynn.

“Over the last few weeks you could see in training that he was getting back to full fitness but, unfortunately, the games were just too important for us to be able to ease him back into the team.

“It’s a real shame that it didn’t work out but we sat down and had a good chat and we agreed that he needs to be playing closer to home at his age.

“He’s a great professional and he understands the situation. He goes with our best wishes, as does everyone who is leaving us this summer.”

South Wales Argus:

Also released were defender Tyler Forbes and winger Will Randall.

“Tyler also found it hard not playing while living away from home,” explained the Exiles boss.

“That’s why he went on loan to Salford in March and this is a good chance for him to go and get regular football, which he needs at his age.

“Will was a low-cost option and he boosted the numbers in the squad at an important time in the season.”


Josh Sheehan was the first of the out of contract players to sign a new deal yesterday

and Flynn also confirmed that the club has taken up the option of extending academy graduate Momodou Touray’s contract,

as revealed by the Argus earlier this month


Speaking about Touray then, the manager said: “He’ll have to come back in pre-season and work very hard to kick on from the improvement he’s made this year at Barry.

“It’s men’s football and he’s done really well there. I knew he’d get good coaching there.

“I knew that they would look after him because it’s a great football club.

"His confidence has been boosted and he trains well with us.

“He just needs to improve on his stamina. That part of it he’s really short on. If he does then I think we’ve got a talent on our hands.

“If he doesn’t then it’s a shame because he’s got great feet, he’s strong, he’s a good finisher. It’s exciting."

Touray, who turns 20 in July, was born in the Gambia but raised in Newport on Chepstow Road, just around the corner from Rodney Parade.

He represented both Newport Corinthians and Villa Dino Christchurch before moving on to the Exiles academy via the County in the Community Futsal and Education programme.

The teenager has previously spent time on loan at Merthyr Town and had a brief 'work experience' trial at Leicester City in January 2018.

He made his senior County debut 12 months ago and won his first Wales under-21 cap in October after impressing at Barry.

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