NEWPORT County AFC captain Ryan Delaney has turned down a fresh contract and signed for League Two rivals Swindon Town.

The central defender spent one season at Rodney Parade after signing from Morecambe and was a hugely influential figure until his season was ended early by a knee injury in February.

Delaney missed just one game until that blow – that through suspension for a controversial red card – and racked up 41 appearances when filling the big void left by Mickey Demetriou.

The left-footed Irishman was in talks with the Exiles but, like stalwart Scot Bennett, is heading for a fresh challenge in the fourth tier.

"I want to thank everyone at Newport County, the gaffer, staff, players and fans," he posted on social media.

"It was an honour to represent the club last season and, though my time was short, I’ve got some fond memories to look back on. I wish everyone all the best in the future and thank you again."

Delaney has agreed terms with Swindon and that leaves County owner Huw Jenkins with more rebuilding to do ahead of next season.

The Exiles currently have just four central defenders on the books – the experienced pair of James Clarke and Kyle Jameson plus novices Josh Seberry and Nelson Sanca.

Injury-plagued central defender Declan Drysdale was released at the end of the season while Matt Baker has returned to Stoke City after a second loan spell in Newport.

While Newport are set for almost a total rebuild, Delaney is ready to settle in Swindon under compatriot Mark Kennedy.

GONE: Ryan Delaney leading County out last season against his new club SwindonGONE: Ryan Delaney leading County out last season against his new club Swindon (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

"I spoke to the gaffer and he expressed what his plans were for the club and it seems like a positive atmosphere around the place," said the central defender, who is on the comeback trail from his knee injury.

“He told me about his plans for this place and I wanted to be a part of that and part of the success of this club.

“It is a massive club, that is plain to see for people on the outside, it has got great history and the fan base.

“That is what you want as a player, you want to play in front of a big crowd, have big expectations, and have that big pressure – it is going to have that here and I am looking forward to all it has to offer.

“Mark spoke to me about having a positive outlook and having that change at the club, it wants to push forward and there will be that pressure, but when things are going well, this is the kind of club you want to be at.

"I like to do the dirty work and make blocks and tackles, I like to wear my heart on my sleeve and give 100 per cent and I also like to think that I am a leader and vocal on the pitch."

Two of the four players that have been in contract talks with County have left, with experienced midfielders Aaron Wildig and Harry Charsley yet to announce where they will be playing next season.

The Exiles have just two midfielders currently on the books, ever-present Bryn Morris and teenager Jac Norris.