JAMES Clarke is staying at Newport County AFC after a clause was triggered on the central defender’s contract.

The 32-year-old has enjoyed a strong first campaign at Rodney Parade since signing from Walsall last summer on an initial one-year deal.

He has made 37 appearances, 35 of them starts, and has been a dependable presence at the heart of the defence.

The former Bristol Rovers defender will return to Newport this summer after his exploits triggered an extra year.

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County play their final game of the season against Rochdale tomorrow and are set to announce their retained list next week.

They have currently have 12 senior players under contract for next season – goalkeepers Nick Townsend and Joe Day, full-backs Cameron Norman and Aaron Lewis, central defenders Mickey Demetriou, Clarke and Priestley Farquharson, defender/midfielders Matty Dolan and Scot Bennett, midfielders Robbie Willmott and James Waite and forward Lewis Collins.

South Wales Argus: Striker partners Courtney Baker-Richardson and Dom Telford are out of contract this summerStriker partners Courtney Baker-Richardson and Dom Telford are out of contract this summer

League Two top scorer Dom Telford is out of contract this summer along with regulars Ryan Haynes and Courtney Baker-Richardson while influential loanees Finn Azaz and Ollie Cooper will return to their parent clubs along with Jake Cain and Rob Street.

James Rowberry has already said that he would like to sign on-loan central defender Josh Pask, whose deal with Coventry expires this summer.

“We have 12 players under contract and I want to have 22 senior players, that's my aim with competition for each position,” said the manager.

“Then the extra bits are the development lads like Harrison Bright, Jack Karadogan, Lewys Twamley, Joe Woodiwiss, Evan Ovendale, Ryan Hillier, Louis Hall.”