MANAGER Graham Coughlan believes Cork City can help turn Nathan Wood into an important player for Newport County AFC.

The 26-year-old attacking midfielder will be on loan at the League of Ireland, First Division club until June after making a deadline day move.

Wood, who was released by County after coming through the academy, returned on a two-year contract after impressing in the Cymru Premier for Penybont.

He has made 18 appearances in all competitions, six of them starts, and scored his first Exiles goal in the EFL Trophy win at Cheltenham.

Wood, a Manchester United fan, came on at the death against the Red Devils last Sunday but is now off to play in Ireland’s second tier.

Cork kick off their season against Kerry on February 16 and the campaign runs through to October, but Wood will be back in Newport for pre-season.

South Wales Argus: OFF: County's Nathan Wood will spend the second half of the season in CorkOFF: County's Nathan Wood will spend the second half of the season in Cork (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“Nathan needs to be playing week in, week out. His development and pathway has been blocked up a bit by not playing regularly,” said Coughlan.

“He has made giant strides since coming in but has to play and no player should sit for two parts of the season. Woody recognised that, we recognised that as coaching staff.

“He has had a bit of a frustrating first period here with us but we never believed it would happen straight off, we always knew it would take a bit of time.

“There is still the talent and quality that we believe in, I just hope he can get the match minutes that he needs.

“Woody is a long-term development player and he has been brilliant since coming in but there was frustration after playing for so long regularly [for Penybont].

“We had a chat and he was more than happy to go out and experience a different league, club and culture.

“When Woody comes back in June, he will hit the ground running after having game time. I think he could grow into a really important player for us.”

Wood hasn’t started a game since the defeat at Mansfield in mid-January and is relishing his move to Cork, who are trying to bounce back to the Premier Division at the first attempt.

“This has all happened very quickly, but I am really looking forward to getting over to Cork and meeting up with my team mates," he said.

“I have had a good chat with the manager about his plans for the season, and I am really excited by what he has had to say. I know it’s a big club with a really good fanbase, so I am looking forward to being part of it.”