DEFENDER Ryan Jackson has turned down the offer of a new contract at Newport County AFC to reunite with former manager Justin Edinburgh at Gillingham.

Jackson becomes the 15th player to leave the Exiles since new boss Terry Butcher took charge at Rodney Parade on May 1.

League One outfit Gillingham announced the signing on their official website this afternoon.

The Gills statement reads: “Gillingham have signed Ryan Jackson from Newport County on a two year deal.

“The 24-year-old right back was offered a new contract at Rodney Parade, however he has decided to move up a division and be reunited with former boss Justin Edinburgh, who signed Jackson on a free in July 2013 from Macclesfield.

“The defender, who can also play at wing back, has made 174 appearances during his professional career and scored five goals, most recently for Macclesfield during a 2-0 win over Tamworth on November 6 2012.”

On capturing Jackson’s signature Edinburgh said: “I am delighted to get Ryan on board; he was an excellent performer during my time with Newport and I look forward to working with him once again here at Gillingham.”

Jackson added: “I’m delighted to be a Gillingham player, I can’t wait to get started and I’ve worked with Justin before so he knows how to get the best out of me.”

Meanwhile, Exiles boss Butcher has reassured fans that he is close to adding to his squad soon.

Goalkeeper Joe Day, defender Kevin Feely and midfielders Yan Klukowski and Mark Byrne are the only senior players currently contracted for next season.

"We'll be in a position soon to make some announcements, I think they'll be announcements that will please the fans as well so it's very exciting,” Butcher told the official County website.

“I'm not daunted by bringing in a brand new team" the former Inverness boss added.

“You speak to people and perhaps the expectation level isn't going to be too high because it's going to be a new squad together, and a new management team as well, everyone getting to know each other.

"But hopefully other teams will underestimate us, underestimate the quality that we're bringing in and the spirit of the players."

On Jackson's departure, the club issued the following statement: "Newport County AFC can confirm that Ryan Jackson has turned down a contract offer from the club.

"Jackson made 37 appearances for County last season and was offered a new deal by manager Terry Butcher, however the full back has informed County that he has decided to turn down the offer of a new deal.

"Newport County AFC would like once again to place on record it's thanks to the whole of last season's squad and members of the coaching staff who are set to move on during the close season."