MANAGER Graham Coughlan is ‘anxious’ about the speed of the Newport County AFC takeover as he looks to secure fresh deals with top talent to stop them leaving on free transfers next summer.

Former Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins is set to take over the Exiles after the Supporters Trust, who have run the club since 2015, gave the green light in September.

It had been hoped that the deal would be complete before the end of the year but the EFL process is dragging on and it could go into January.

Coughlan is relaxed about how that will impact his recruitment in the window – he feels only one or two signings are needed – but is more concerned about getting to work on retention.

County failed to secure deals with four key players last season and saw Mickey Demetriou, Cameron Norman, Aaron Lewis and Priestley Farquharson leave for League Two rivals on free transfers.

That followed the loss in 2022 of golden boot winner Dom Telford and strike partner Courtney Baker-Richardson for fourth-tier teams.

The manager wants to ensure that he doesn’t have a repeat, with captain Ryan Delaney, Scot Bennett, Harry Charsley, Aaron Wildig and Omar Bogle among those whose contracts expire next summer.

South Wales Argus: WAITING: Huw Jenkins is going through the EFL process to take over at Newport CountyWAITING: Huw Jenkins is going through the EFL process to take over at Newport County (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“I get a little bit anxious, I would like the process to be quickened up a bit,” admitted Coughlan, with the hold-up at the EFL end.

“There are players in that changing room that I have touched base with and spoken to about plans and what I would like to do in the coming weeks.

“That was back in October and ran into November, that November has run into December so I am a little bit behind in what I would like to do.

“It wasn’t just last year on my watch, it has been a long-standing issue that this club loses its better players at the end of the season.

“Players use the club as a springboard to earn more money and I would like to get on top of that and put a halt to that.

“We’ve got some really good lads and I don’t want to be in a situation like I was last summer when I am planning, recruiting and organising and all of a sudden I get four phone calls, lose four players and I have to rip all my plans up.

“I will try to avoid that if I can and I would like things to move along a little bit quicker and we can get going.

“But we are active in our recruitment policy and we are active in trying to nail down the players we would like to hold onto going forward.

“There are positive signs and fingers crossed over the next couple of weeks we can sit down with a couple of these lads and get them tied down and we can make one or two additions in January, but that is all it will be, one or two.”

South Wales Argus: IN-FORM: County's Shane McLoughlinIN-FORM: County's Shane McLoughlin (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

County signed Shane McLoughlin last summer and there has been speculation about interest in the in-form Irishman, who has played full-back and wing-back on both flanks plus midfield.

League One Charlton and Wycombe Wanderers have been reported as being interested in the utility man, although he does have another year under contract like top scorer Will Evans.

“That famous word ‘speculation’! I would be delighted if people are looking at our players because it would show they are being coached well, they are playing well and they are good players,” said Coughlan.

“If we could turn speculation into realism that would be a brilliant achievement for everybody; I’ve got no issues, clubs will always look at good players.

“We do have a decent name in the game for coaching and developing, me and Joe Dunne have a long history of developing and moving players on.

“It’s no surprise, hopefully it’s more that speculation and they are looking at one or two more because our performance levels this season have been really good, and that will attract attention.”