NEWPORT County AFC host Manchester United in the FA Cup next weekend – and missed out on signing promising Red Devils prospect Joe Hugill.

The 20-year-old forward signed a new contract with the Premier League giants before moving on loan to League One Burton Albion last week.

Hugill promptly scored for the Brewers shortly after coming off the bench to make it 2-2 at Derby on Monday, with the Rams winning that East Midlands derby at the death.

Coughlan signed United prospect Charlie McNeill on loan last January and had hoped that his young teammate, who is getting a first taste of senior football, would make the same switch to Rodney Parade.

South Wales Argus: TALENT: Manchester United propsect Joe Hugill in pre-seasonTALENT: Manchester United propsect Joe Hugill in pre-season (Image: Press Association)

“We are active and trying,” said the manager. “I lost a couple of players to a higher division, which is frustrating. It happened to us last year but we are fishing in the right pond.

“It is frustrating when players go [to a other clubs] and one of them actually scored on Monday night with his first touch of the ball.

“That proves that we are aiming high and in the right place, so it’s about being patient and I do think we will have a bit of positivity come Monday or Tuesday after a long chase.”

Coughlan has previously confirmed that County turned down January interest in players with top scorer Will Evans and full-back/midfielder Shane McLoughlin having admirers thanks to their fine form.

Even if a big offer came in, the prospect of facing Manchester United means that individuals certainly wouldn’t want to leave before next weekend.

Coughlan insists that he intends to strengthen his squad in this window and not lose key players from it.

South Wales Argus: IMPRESSIVE: Shane McLoughlin has been a leading figure for Newport CountyIMPRESSIVE: Shane McLoughlin has been a leading figure for Newport County (Image: Huw Evans Picture Agency)

“None of my players were going anyway, we don’t have the squad to let players out,” said the manager.

“There were one or two suitors for our players but we put the phone down on people enquiring.

“I don’t think the Wrexham, Man United, Swindon games and the buzz around the place is going to change their minds, and certainly not mine or the [imminent] new owner’s [Huw Jenkins].”