JOHN Hartson has backed his former Wales international teammate Andrew Crofts to be a big hit at Newport County AFC.

Crofts joined County on a one-year deal this week after leaving League One Scunthorpe United.

The 34-year-old midfielder has made nearly 500 appearances at club level, including a spell in the Premier League with Norwich City, and played 29 times for his country.

South Wales Argus:

Hartson led the Wales attack when Crofts made his international debut as a 21-year-old back in 2005 (above) and he expects his former teammate to make a positive impact at Rodney Parade.

“Croftsy’s a good lad with a lot of experience who should do well at that level,” said Hartson.

“He’s 34 so he’s been around the block and he will be one of the older heads in the dressing room and a calming influence for some of the youngsters.

“He’s a great professional and he had a good few years at Brighton and Norwich in the Championship and the Premier League.

“With Wales he never let anyone down, he always did a good job when he came in and he was just unfortunate that he had to compete with so many good midfielders.

“It’s a really good signing for Newport,” added Hartson.

“They were brilliant last season – I was at the FA Cup games against Tottenham and they’ve got a really good manager there.

“Hopefully they can go from strength to strength.”

South Wales Argus:

Former Arsenal, West Ham United and Celtic star Hartson had a short stint coaching the strikers at County back in 2011 and has been performing a similar role at Livingston for the last year.

He helped them to win promotion to the Scottish Premiership last season and recently declared an interest in replacing the departed David Hopkin as manager.

Former Scotland and Cardiff City striker Kenny Miller is now the favourite to fill the role, however, and Hartson says he’s happy to concentrate on his punditry work with BT Sport, TalkSport and the BBC.

“I’m not sure about management at the moment,” he explained.

“I’ve enjoyed working with the strikers at Livingston but I’m very busy with my media work at the moment and I’ve just moved up with my family to Edinburgh where we’re having a new house built.”

South Wales Argus:

Hartson (above) also worked as a coach with Wales under Chris Coleman up until 2013 and he's impressed with the way new national manager Ryan Giggs has started since replacing Coleman.

“I think Ryan has got a really good balance in the squad,” said the 43-year-old.

“He’s brought in a lot of good youngsters just like Wales did under John Toshack and Brian Flynn and hopefully they can flourish in the same way.

“It’s a little painful to watch the World Cup without Wales, especially when you think back to all the points that we let slip away in qualifying, but I believe the future is bright under Ryan.”