AFTER a flurry of activity last week, it’s now something of a waiting game for Newport County AFC as they aim to keep together the squad that went so close to winning promotion to League One.

It was no great surprise to see Andrew Crofts, Tyler Forbes and Will Randall released and the regrettable departure of Dan Butler to Peterborough United was also well trailed.

But there was good news with both Josh Sheehan and Mark O’Brien signing new two-year contracts to stay at Rodney Parade until 2021.

And now the Exiles are waiting on Joe Day, Mickey Demetriou, Joss Labadie and Matty Dolan, who have all been offered new deals, to decide their future.

Labadie and Dolan have both made encouraging noises about wanting to stick around for next season and manager Michael Flynn will be hopeful of keeping both at the club.

But Day and Demetriou are being strongly linked with moves away from Newport and we may have seen the last of them in County colours.

If they are to move up the ladder to League One, like Butler, it would be a big loss to the Exiles but nobody can begrudge them the chance to better themselves.

Both have been terrific servants to the club and they will naturally want to play at the highest level possible.

And at 28 and 29 respectively, Day and Demetriou know that they may not have many more chances to prove that they can thrive in the third tier or above.

Butler is only 24 so he could perhaps have afforded another crack at promotion with County, but he too has surely earned his chance to move on.

South Wales Argus:

It was clearly a difficult decision for the defender to leave the club that he’s called home for the past three years.

He issued an emotional message to County fans on Twitter and Butler also spoke about his love for the Exiles in an interview with the Isle of Wight County Press.

“It will be a fresh start for us all,” said the former Portsmouth and Torquay United man, who grew up in Cowes.

“It was sad to leave Newport. I have a big relationship with the players, staff and the fans.”

Before he travels to Peterborough to join his new teammates for pre-season on June 24, Butler will be in Ibiza getting married to fiance, Summer. The couple have an 18-month-old daughter, Dolly.

“Dolly will be particularly sad, because she supports Newport,” he added. I will have to get her a Peterborough shirt.”

Reflecting on his future with Posh, he admitted: “I'm over the moon. Peterborough are such a big club. I'm very excited and I just can't wait to get started.

“This move is everything that I have been working towards.

“I have never hidden the fact I have always wanted to play at as high a level as I can, so when Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson came in for me, it was a no brainer.

“The standards will be higher at Peterborough, as will competition for places in the first team, but I am confident in my ability, and if I can play the way I did last season, I know I will play more games than not next season.”

South Wales Argus:

Butler follows in the footsteps of both Conor Washington and Andrew Hughes by swapping Rodney Parade for London Road and he is more than capable of matching their achievements by going on to play in the Championship.

He endured a shaky start to his time at County as he conceded the penalty at Grimsby Town that led to Warren Feeney being sacked and then scored an own goal to consign the Exiles to defeat in Graham Westley’s first match in charge.

But Butler blossomed once Flynn replaced Westley in March 2017 and, along with Day, Demetriou and Padraig Amond, has been amongst the most consistent performers at the club over the past two seasons.

And he’ll be missed just as much for his contribution off the pitch as for his performances on it.

His tireless work with the County in the Community programme and as the club’s mental health ambassador was deservedly recognised at this year’s PFA awards.

Club director Colin Faulkner, who is responsible for equality and diversity at County, said: “Dan epitomises what we look for in a player at the club; full commitment on the field and constantly supporting the community off it."

County’s loss is very much Peterborough’s gain. Good luck Dan.

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