AFTER a frustrating and fruitless few weeks in the transfer market, Newport County AFC manager Michael Flynn finally landed his first signing of the summer yesterday.

Fraser Franks’ welcome return to the club will be the first of many new signings in the coming weeks and months and, now that the floodgates have been opened, it will hopefully ease the concerns of some County fans.

The Exiles’ inactivity has seen a section of supporters channel Dad’s Army’s Private Frazer with several gloomy predictions along the lines of “we’re doomed” via social media.

The message from the club, as you’d expect, is definitely more “don’t panic” and at this stage of the summer there is no reason to over-react to the lack of new arrivals.

At this point 12 months ago Flynn had brought in three new players and he would go on to secure a further three permanent additions and four loan signings during the summer transfer window.

His predecessors Warren Feeney and Terry Butcher were much busier in 2016 and 2015 respectively as they performed major surgery on under-performing squads.

Two years ago Feeney had recruited seven new faces at this stage of the summer and he would go on to add another eight permanent and five loan signings.

Three years ago Butcher had completed four of his 11 new signings and he went on to bring in another three on loan before the end of August.

Things were more stable during Justin Edinburgh’s reign but he too had made his first forays into the transfer market well before the third week of June.

In 2014 had added three new players at this point and would later add two more permanent additions and one on loan by the end of the summer.

And in 2013 Edinburgh’s promotion-winning squad was bolstered by two new signings in early June, with five more players heading to Rodney Parade later in the transfer window and one more on loan.

So County are not that far off the pace in terms of summer recruitment with more new arrivals expected this week.

That’s not to say that everything is going to plan, however.

As highlighted by the recent financial results, the published minutes from board meetings and last month’s supporters meeting, Flynn is clearly working with a tight budget this summer and that will mean that he will inevitably miss out on some targets.

He would ideally have kept hold of Ben Tozer and Frank Nouble and the tricky Joss Labadie contract situation is still unresolved.

And yesterday’s capture of Franks, who previously played one match for the club during a brief loan spell from AFC Wimbledon in 2012, was counteracted by the news that academy graduate Tom Owen-Evans has joined Scottish Championship club Falkirk in a permanent deal.

He may have been born in Bristol but Owen-Evans joined County as a 16-year-old and progressed from the Exiles academy to the first team back in 2015.

Fans are always extra supportive of a player they consider “one of our own” and on a personal note I’m sad to see Tom leave the club.

He was always a pleasure to deal with off the pitch and on it he showed tantalising glimpses of his undoubted talent.

He made a big contribution to the club’s Great Escape from relegation in the 2016-2017 season and his stunning goal to beat Exeter City went a long way to keeping County in the Football League.

Flynn has always been a big believer in the young midfielder’s talents and was delighted to hand him a new two-year deal 12 months ago.

But last season did not go to plan for the 21-year-old, who made just 15 appearances in all competitions and ended the campaign on loan at National League South side Truro City.

At the time of that move, Flynn explained that he wanted Owen-Evans to “kick on” in his career.

“I’ve had good chats with Tom and I’m always here to help him,” said the Exiles boss.

“He seems to be taking the advice on board now – he’s a little bit bigger, a bit stronger and he’s got a little bit of that edge about him again, which I felt he lost at the beginning of the season.

“I think he needs to keep his consistency,” he added. “He needs to continue to work hard to build up his pace and his power because he’s still quite small.

“But he’s got fantastic feet and he’s a very talented footballer.”

The move to Scotland’s second tier will hopefully be a positive for all parties.

County’s coffers will be boosted by the “undisclosed fee” they receive for his services and Owen-Evans has a great chance to develop in a completely different environment.

Here’s hoping he takes the opportunity to improve and fulfil his obvious talent and that the Exiles have negotiated a good sell-on fee should he go from strength to strength.