JOSS Labadie’s contract has officially expired but manager Michael Flynn has not given up hope of keeping his injured captain at Newport County AFC.

Labadie, who is currently recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury, is now a free agent after his Exiles deal ran out on Saturday.

The midfielder, who turns 28 next month, is unlikely to play again before October at the earliest but County have offered him a new contract.

The two parties have been discussing a new deal since the end of last year but have yet to reach agreement.

It’s not an ideal situation for Flynn, who is trying to put together a competitive squad on a tight budget.

The Exiles boss wanted a final decision from Labadie last week but says he is now willing to wait a little longer because he believes his skipper would make a huge difference to the team’s competitiveness in the 2018-2019 season.

“At the moment we can’t agree on anything,” said Flynn.

“It’s not Joss’s fault, it’s not the club’s fault, it’s just circumstances and it is what it is.

“At the moment there is no news. We’re speaking regularly and Joss in in doing his rehab.

“Joss has got another month’s money because of the severance and we’ll never say never but at the moment there’s no agreement between the two parties.

“Obviously that’s something that I’m gutted about because he’s someone who I’ve got a lot of time for and I think with Joss Labadie in this squad it could be the best Newport County squad that we’ve had in the Football League – providing he comes back fully fit.

“He’s out of contract now but that doesn’t really change anything,” added the manager.

“He’s been free to talk to clubs since January because he’s over 24.

“An offer was made in January and it wasn’t acceptable to the football club.

“Once the season’s over [and a player’s contract is coming to an end] they can talk to whoever they want.

“I don’t blame players for that because they’ve got to try to get the best deal for themselves in a short career.

“It’s very amicable and we’ll just see where it takes us.

“Joss is definitely not holding us to ransom. He’s acted very professionally and so has his agent.

“They’ve never once tried to make things difficult. It’s just that at the moment we can’t agree on things.”

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But Flynn is still hopeful that he can persuade Labadie to stay at Rodney Parade.

“Until he signs somewhere else there’s always a possibility because I would never rule out trying to sign Joss Labadie,” he said.

“It helps when you know somebody very well but I would never rule that out.

“If he gets a better offer – maybe closer to home or in a higher league – then there’s nothing we can do because, whether he was fit or not, who could blame him for taking that offer?”