CENTRE-BACK James Clarke will miss Newport County AFC's League Two opener at Sutton United tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).

The 32-year-old started in the final pre-season fixture at Forest Green Rovers last weekend but has since suffered a minor hip injury.

The experienced defender, who made 35 appearances last season to trigger a contract extension, will miss the trip to Sutton but will aim to be back in the mix to face his former club Walsall in the first Rodney Parade game of 2022/23.

"James has a slight hip issue and won't be available for Saturday, then it's day by day after that,” said manager James Rowberry.

"It's a shame for him because we went through the whole of pre-season without anything, but it's one of those things."

South Wales Argus: NEW BOY: County defender Declan DrysdaleNEW BOY: County defender Declan Drysdale

County have played in a 3-5-2 formation in pre-season and the most likely defensive line-up at Gander Green Lane is captain Matty Dolan flanked by fellow stalwart Mickey Demetriou and new signing Declan Drysdale.

However, another option would be to move Cameron Norman to the right-sided central defender with Aaron Lewis and Adam Lewis as the wing-backs.

Priestley Farquharson has been nursed through pre-season after his 2021/22 campaign was ended early by knee surgery.

The powerful central defender made his return with 45 minutes against Weston-super-Mare but won’t be rushed back in League Two with a Carabao Cup outing on August 9 the target.

"He is close but me and the medical team are mindful of pushing too far, too quickly,” said Rowberry. “We have got 55-plus games hopefully this season and need to make sure we have everybody available.

“Pushing him to start at Luton is the aim for Priestley, who has been training really, really hard.

“We've managed him and given him certain treatment along the way but fingers crossed he will be ready for Luton away.”

County could give debuts to their eight summer signings – Drysdale, Adam Lewis, midfielders Sam Bowen and Aaron Wildig and strikers Omar Bogle, Offrande Zanzala, Chanka Zimba and Will Evans.