NEWPORT County AFC manager James Rowberry has backed ‘tenacious’ James Waite to become a fans’ favourite after signing the attacking midfielder on a permanent deal.

The 22-year-old from Cwmbran heads to Rodney Parade from Penybont on an 18-month contract.

Waite has scored eight times in the Cymru Premier this season and is well known to Rowberry, who coached the midfielder at Cardiff City.

READ MORE: The lowdown on new signing Pask

The former Wales Under-21 international made one senior appearance for the Bluebirds in August 2019, coming off the bench in an EFL Cup clash with Luton.

He has two spells on loan at Weston-super-Mare before heading to play for Waterford in the League of Ireland in 2020/21.

Waite will come straight into the first-team squad to add competition for spots in the attacking areas.

“I have known James since he was 13 and he is an Ollie Cooper or Finn Azaz type,” said the manager.

“He has been involved in 14 goals this year for Penybont and he is a very attack-minded player. He is small but he is so tenacious.

“He is from the area and that is a big thing for me, he is a local lad and knows what it means to play for Newport.

“James didn’t get the chances at Cardiff but I think our style of play will suit him – he is an exciting signing for us and will get better and better with time.

“The fans will love him, they will see how tenacious he is for someone of that stature and he gives us an extra attacking option.”

Waite is County’s second signing of the January transfer window after Coventry defender Josh Pask joined on loan until the end of the season.

“I am really pleased to get the two deals done,” said Rowberry. “They have been on the radar for a while.

“We identified them as a collective and Darren [Kelly, sporting director], who has been terrific with the ins and outs, got the deals over the line.”

Ed Upson left County for League Two rivals Stevenage while his fellow midfielder Christopher Missilou and forwards Jordan Greenidge and Jermain Hylton have been released.

Attacking midfielder Lewys Twamley is the first of the young players to have left on loan, heading to Salisbury to gain experience.