NEWPORT County boss Terry Butcher has issued a hands off warning to clubs interested in young defender Regan Poole, making clear he wants him as part of the Exiles’ first team this term.

The 17-year old has been linked to various clubs, including Manchester United and Liverpool, with Championship side Fulham having had two bids (believed to be for £30,000 and £60,000) turned down by the Exiles.

Now entering his second-year of a scholar contract, Poole has recently been on trial at Liverpool, participating in an end of season tour with their under-18 squad.

However, the defender, who played 12 times for the first team last season and who was a regular for Wales U18s, is seen as a big prospect by boss Butcher who insists he’ll now be looking out for what is best for County, when it comes to Poole.

“Regan went on trial to Liverpool and picked up an injury and now that injury has flared up a bit in pre-season training,” he said.

“I don’t want to send him out on trial again; I would be reticent to do that.

“We want Regan to play for Newport County next season, he’s our player, our asset, and we want to protect him.

“Regan is a big part of my plans and we don’t want to lose him.”

Butcher is now ready to run the rule over a handful of trialists next week as he ponders whether to offer deals, with defender David Vincent, from South Wales University one of those in the spotlight.

Butcher has tried to keep the number of trialists to a minimum and admits he won’t make any decisions based on training ground performances.

“We’ve had three triallists in and they’ve done well, but we will need to see them in games,” he said.

“At previous clubs I’ve encountered the odd TGI, a training ground international, and you have to be careful with that.

“We do have room in the squad, so we need to see if these guys can fill some of those slots.”

Butcher says he is being kept in the loop in respect of the talks between owner Les Scadding and the Supporters’ Trust over a possible transfer of shares.

They were yesterday undertaking in due diligence of the club in conjunction with Supporters Direct.

“I’ve explained that I would (be supportive of a takeover) and I am being kept in the loop,” he explained.

“We want to club to be as strong and progressive as it can possibly be, that would be the ideal scenario.”