FORMER Newport County AFC target Joe Ledley has joined Championship club Charlton Athletic on a free transfer.

The Wales international has been without a club since leaving Derby County in January and he was linked with a move to the Exiles back in October after being spotted at Rodney Parade.

Ledley watched County beat Scunthorpe United in League Two on October 19 and manager Michael Flynn said afterwards that he was hopeful that a deal could be done.

“I speak to Joe quite regularly,” said the Exiles boss. “Is there an opportunity there? I don’t know.

“Can we get him? I’m not quite sure. Is it close? No. Have I spoken to him? Yes. That’s all there is to say at this stage.”

Flynn added on November 1: “I’ve spoken to him and it’s kind of ‘wait and see’ now, but I’m not overly optimistic on it.

“It’s unlikely is what I’d say, but never say never – as you always get told in football.”

But the former Cardiff City and Celtic midfielder has now secured a return to the Championship after impressing Addicks boss Lee Bowyer in training over the past week.

Ledley, who has played 77 times for his country, has put pen to paper on a short-term deal with the club and he could go straight into Bowyer’s squad for tomorrow’s game against Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.

South Wales Argus:

Bowyer is pleased to have the 32-year-old on board.

“He has experience, he has been in the game a long time, he’s an international player,” said the Charlton manager.

“He’ll come in again and help the young lads that are in around it. I’m over the moon to have him on board.”

Ledley began his career at his hometown club Cardiff, playing 229 league games for the Bluebirds between 2004 and 2010.

He moved to Celtic and played 106 league games before joining Crystal Palace in 2014, where he stayed until 2017.

He most recently played for Derby County before leaving them in January, and now he’s looking forward to getting back playing.

“I’m happy to be back in football and playing again,” Ledley told Valley Pass.

“I want to play as many games as possible, to come here, play football and show everyone what I can do. It’s a good club to be at, they are a great bunch of lads, I know a few of them here and they’ve welcomed me straight away.”

Ledley becomes the fourth Wales international in the squad joining Tom Lockyer, Jonny Williams and Adam Matthews.

The Addicks were without 14 first team players for last weekend’s visit of Sheffield Wednesday and Head of Recruitment, Steve Gallen, explained it was important to add depth to the side to help them out in a time of need.

He said: “We’ve had Joe in to train with us for the week.

“It’s something we’ve been thinking about for a couple of weeks with the injuries that we’ve got. Lee’s been impressed, we’ve all been impressed, so we’re pleased to get him in.”

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