NEWPORT County are celebrating one of the biggest transfer coups in their history after agreeing a deal to sign £15 million man Ade Akinbiyi.

The veteran striker joins until the end of the season after helping Notts County to the League Two title last term.

The former Wolves, Burnley and Leicester hitman has been training with Premier League outfit Stoke City and the Argus understands Stoke boss Tony Pulis was key to the deal happening, giving the Exiles a ringing endorsement of the player and visa versa.

County believe the 35-year-old, whose total transfer fees exceed £15m, can help fire them to the Conference playoffs and are delighted with a signing they believe represents a huge coup after boss Dean Holdsworth and director of football Tim Harris convinced the Nigerian international to become a non-league player for the first time.

Transferred for a combined transfer fee of £15.25 million during his career, Akinbiyi moved five times for fees of more then £1m and twice became a club record signing, for Wolves (£3.5m) and Leicester (£5m).

Holdsworth fears his team are high on quality but low on experience and that played a big part in his thinking as he convinced Akinbiyi that Newport was the club for him.

“We believe this is an incredibly exciting signing and hope the supporters do too, I haven’t managed a player with bags of Premier League experience before and it’s a good challenge for me,” he explained.

“Tony Pulis has given him a superb endorsement and his is an opinion we all really trust, he’s been training with Stoke City so fitness just shouldn’t be an issue. We are going to manage him right, make him a real impact player and with his experience and attributes we feel he can really contribute.

“He’s never been prolific and isn’t all about goals, but that’s true of a lot of good strikers, Robbie Matthews a good example.”

Holdsworth believes the likes of Matthews, Craig Reid and Sam Foley can all learn a great deal from their new teammate, who should rubber-stamp his deal in time to make his debut at Tamworth on Tuesday night.

“Watch him train, learn the way he looks after himself and things like that, that’s my advice to the other strikers, they should be rubbing their hands with delight at the prospect of working with him,” he said.

“We already feel we’ve had a productive January and this signing is a real bonus, hopefully he’ll be an important player for us.”

The Argus can reveal County were also advised to sign Akinbiyi by Portsmouth boss Steve Cotterill.

The addition of Akinbiyi does not end County’s pursuit of a striker currently at a League Two club, but loan signing Ben Wright has now returned to Crawley Town.