NEWPORT County AFC won’t have a new boss in place when they return to pre-season training on Monday – but the new-look squad is in safe hands.

The Exiles are hunting for a head coach after the departures of manager Graham Coughlan and his right-hand man Joe Dunne this month.

They return to start preparations for the League Two season, which kicks off at Cheltenham on August 10, on Monday but owner Huw Jenkins will not rush his appointment of a new head coach.

The chairman is prepared to be patient to get the right person to fit his footballing philosophy, with the former Swansea chief making no secret of his desire for County to develop an identity that runs through the club.

Jenkins has recruited with that in mind, making signings while working alongside head of football operations Chris Finn and his own scouting network.

While he narrows down candidates for the top job, County’s squad will be put through their paces by the existing coaching staff.

The first week will have a big emphasis on fitness and team admin, with head of performance Scott Wickens ready to make the players sweat.

COACHES: Scott Wickens and Dafydd Williams in pre-season with County last summerCOACHES: Scott Wickens and Dafydd Williams in pre-season with County last summer (Image: Huw Evans Agency) First-team coach Dafydd Williams, who arrived last summer from after previously being assistant at Gloucester City and Barry Town United, remains in position along with Jim Hollman, who is much more than just a goalkeeping coach.

Analyst Conor McGaharan is a UEFA A licence holder who used to be in charge of Port Talbot while club greats David Pipe and Mark O’Brien are on the staff as kitman and player liaison officer.

County are also set to bolster their backroom staff with a new coach who is likely to arrive next week – with Jenkins signing plenty of up-and-coming prospects there is a need to provide more assistance to help in their development.

Another position that needs to be filled is head physio after the departure of Sophie Birnie, who has joined League Two rivals Carlisle.

PROUD: Former County boss Graham CoughlanPROUD: Former County boss Graham Coughlan (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

Meanwhile, former boss Coughlan has spoken of his pride of the job he did over his time at Rodney Parade.

“To the staff and players of Newport County, I want to express my gratitude and admiration to you all and say that it was an honour, a privilege and a pleasure to work with you guys over the last two seasons,” he said in a League Managers Association statement.

“To our fantastic fans, we had our highs and lows, but the loyal and unwavering support you gave us was unbelievable and very much appreciated by me, the staff and the players.

“Constantly fighting against all odds is never easy, but the players got on with it and gave their all every day, running through brick walls and upholding the values and principles of the Newport people.

“We achieved a lot in the last two seasons, made some great memories and very nearly made the impossible happen.

“Finally, I would like to extend my best wishes to everyone at the club for the coming season.”