PETER Nicholas says Newport County will complete the signing of midfield dynamo Gareth Phillips within the next 48 hours.

And the Exiles boss is confident that Chinese World Cup defender Fan Zhiyi, capped 106-times by his country, will sign a deal at the Dr Martens League Premier Division club.

Former Welsh Schoolboys international Phillips was released by Swansea City at the end of last season and has played in five of County's pre-season friendlies on trial.

The 23-year-old ball-winner has spoken about his desire to join Nicholas at Newport and the Spytty Park chief admitted: "He should be signed up before the weekend.

"I have been very pleased with his performances during pre-season and he is is a bundle of energy in the centre of midfield.

"He's full of running and a pain in the neck for the opposition and that's what I want my midfield players to be like."

Ex-China captain Zhiyi, released by Cardiff City following their promotion to Division One, has also figured in five of Newport's pre-season games on trial and is apparently keen to make the move permanent.

"He loves it here," insists Nicholas. "And I'm confident that we can secure the deal." Nicholas, though, has said he will not rush into making Jamie Jenkins' stay at Newport Stadium permanent.

The midfield/striker, released from Barry Town, played the second-half in County's 1-1 draw at Mangotsfield on Tuesday. But Nicholas maintains: " I am not going to make any rash decisions.."

Meanwhile, the Newport manager admits he's impressed with his side's fitness levels as they enter the final phase of their pre-season training schedule.

"We've done all of the fitness work and I have been pleased with the lads' response," he said."Now the technical training will begin. We will work on our pattern of play, team-shape and on dead-ball situations.

"We will train three times next week so we're right for the opening league match with Welling on Saturday week."

Nicholas' scouts have watched all five of Newport's opening five league opponents.