IT MAY only have lasted for 45 minutes but Reece Grego-Cox’s first appearance in a Newport County AFC was amongst the most impressive of any loan signing in recent years.

It’s too early to judge how effective he’ll be in the long-term but it was a fine first impression, particularly in such trying conditions.

In the past 10 years Exiles fans have seen hundreds of players arrive on loan – some good, some bad and some who came and went in the blink of an eye.

The ending of the emergency loan system this season means that is now impossible with all loanees committed to staying until the following transfer window.

No longer will we see new boys sent packing after one match and there will be no quick-fixes available via the transfer market between now and January.

Warren Feeney has brought in 19 players since the end of last season, including five on loan.

And Grego-Cox, Rhys Healey, Kyle Cameron, Jordan Green and Josh Sheehan have four months to show their worth – a lot longer than some of their predecessors.

The implementation of the new rules seems like a good excuse to pick the 10 best and the 10 worst loan players during my time covering County.


Conor Wilkinson (2016): The striker may only have scored once but he frightened the life out of League Two defences and probably holds the record for the number of shots against the woodwork. Feeney tried to get him back but he moved on to Portsmouth and is now at League One Chesterfield.

South Wales Argus:

Oliver McBurnie (2015): The Swansea City youngster is the one man to make an even better first impression than Grego-Cox, coming off the bench to bang in a 23-minute hat-trick against Luton Town last November. Didn’t quite live up to that start but he’s another who Feeney was desperate to lure back to Rodney Parade.

Scot Bennett (2015): Now back at the club on a permanent basis and installed as captain, Bennett proved an inspired loan capture when John Sheridan brought him in from Notts County in October last year. Brought vital experience and a calming influence to a squad bereft of confidence after Terry Butcher’s brief reign.

David Tutonda (2015): Arrived from Cardiff City and immediately impressed with his rampaging runs down the left flank. The Congolese defender actually had a better strike rate than Wilkinson with two goals in 12 appearances and his enthusiasm and beaming smile made him a joy to watch.

Joe Day (2014): The current County number one was a revelation on his arrival from Peterborough United in August 2014 and quickly won the admiration of teammates and fans alike. His performances prompted Justin Edinburgh to sign him for a club record fee and after a difficult time last season he’s showing his worth again.

South Wales Argus:

Deji Oshilaja (2013-14): Another Bluebirds defender who made a big impression down the road in Newport. The Bermondsey boy (above) was raw but the talent was there for all to see and after spells at Sheffield Wednesday and AFC Wimbledon he’s now on his third loan at Gillingham with former Exiles boss Justin Edinburgh.

Alex Gilbey (2013): Played only eight games but they were crucial in getting the club to where it is now. The young Colchester midfielder was man of the match in the Conference play-off semi-final second leg and put in another stellar performance at Wembley (below) to mark him as a talent to watch. Now at Wigan Athletic in League One.

South Wales Argus:

Christian Jolley (2012): Scored five goals in just four appearances on loan before being recalled by AFC Wimbledon. Edinburgh made it a priority to secure his services on a permanent basis and he went on to seal his place in the folklore of the club with that goal at Wembley to clinch promotion to the Football League.

Karl Darlow (2012): Ask Edinburgh about the 2012 FA Trophy final and he’ll probably still be fuming about the red tape that meant goalkeeper Karl Darlow (below) had to sit out the defeat to York City. Immediately showed his immense talent and has gone on to fulfil his potential with Nottingham Forest and Newcastle United.

South Wales Argus:

Chris Todd (2010): The popular centre-back was a big hit at Spytty Park after he arrived from Torquay United in January 2010 to help Dean Holdsworth’s men romp to the Conference South title. A rock at the back and scored three goals before signing permanently that summer.

Honourable mentions: Kevin Feely, Max Porter and Lee Minshull


Mitchell Beeney (2016): Made an impressive debut in a win at York City but was shown the door soon afterwards by Feeney, who was not keen on the Chelsea boy’s attitude.

Aaron Hayden (2015): Teenage centre-back (below) looked out of his depth from the start and was axed after horror shows against Morecambe and York.

South Wales Argus:

Josh Laurent (2015): Never really got a chance to show what he could do by Butcher and was clearly not fancied by his replacement Sheridan.

Tyler Blackwood (2015): Another of Butcher’s loans who did not last long. Claimed the winning goal via a big deflection at Carlisle but was soon discarded by Sheridan.

James Loveridge (2014): Swansea striker (below) was not helped by being played in midfield or as a wing-back but never made a big impact and is now at Port Talbot Town.

South Wales Argus:

George Barker (2013): Arrived from Brighton with a big reputation but the striker was shipped out after just two appearances and is now at Gosport Borough.

Fraser Franks (2012): After a disastrous debut at Lincoln City when he was bullied by Jefferson Louis, the central defender’s short stay was curtailed by injury.

Martin John (2010): Chiefly remembered for a horrible afternoon at Grimsby Town in October 2010, the left-back was soon on his way back to Cardiff.

Erwin Sak (2008): Another Holdsworth signing, the Polish goalkeeper played just one game after joining from Cardiff – a 2-0 defeat to Havant & Waterlooville.

Leon Osei (2008): One of many players signed by Holdsworth in the early days of his reign, the winger (below) had plenty of pace but often forgot to take the ball with him.

South Wales Argus: