NEWPORT County AFC director Shaun Johnson insists that keeping the club at Rodney Parade is the board’s “number one priority” but he admits that “the clock is ticking” on the 10-year lease to play at the historic city centre venue.

County’s current agreement to share the stadium, which is owned by the WRU, with the Dragons and Newport RFC runs out in 2023.

Johnson, the Supporters’ Trust chairman, told a supporters’ open meeting on Thursday night that the board want to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

And, with few viable alternatives, they are hopeful of extending the club’s stay at Rodney Parade – their home since moving from Spytty Park in 2012.

“It is the number one priority on the agenda for us,” said Johnson. “We realise the clock is ticking.

“We’ve got an ambitious manager and we’ve got to match that ambition and make sure we secure the club, and that includes making sure we’ve got somewhere to play.

“From a personal perspective, I think this facility [Rodney Parade] is really good.

“Spytty Park at present? No chance – we’d be back in non-league,” he added.

“The only way Spytty could be a viable prospect, in my view, is if it was massively redeveloped and I don’t think that’s on the agenda.

“It’s just about continuing to work with Rodney Parade and secure our long-term future, probably within the next nine months.”

South Wales Argus:

Operational chairman Gavin Foxall said the Exiles are keen to avoid the plight of Coventry City, who have been forced to groundshare with Birmingham City due to a dispute with their landlords at the Ricoh Arena.

“It’s not that far off and we don’t want a Coventry situation,” said Foxall.

“We’ve done all the work behind the scenes and we now need to get down to having those more detailed discussions with all the key stakeholders to make sure that this football club has the security that it deserves.”

Fellow director Kevin Ward said: “Our relationship with Rodney Parade is as good as it has ever been.

“It wasn’t in a particularly great place, for a variety of reasons, this time last year. But an awful lot of work has been done – real partnership working – and there’s some real mutual benefits coming through.”

Meanwhile, the club has revealed how some of the money made from last season’s FA Cup run has been spent.

The training base at Spytty Park has been redeveloped over the summer with new changing rooms, a gym area, a new laundry room and kitchen, a revamped manager’s office and physio room and eating and relaxation areas for the players.

The playing budget has also been increased slightly and new backroom staff have been recruited, including an assistant physio, a head of recruitment and a new coach focusing on the link between the academy and the first team.

Read more: Newport County Supporters' Trust launches election process