NEWPORT County have accepted an invitation to play in the 2011/12 FAW Welsh Cup.

Swansea City, Cardiff City and Colwyn Bay have rejected the opportunity to take part, but the Exiles join Blue Square Bet Premier rivals Wrexham and Toolstation League Premier Division outfit Merthyr Town in returning to the fold alongside 187 other teams from across the nation.

Since 1995 County and the five other Welsh clubs playing in the English pyramid have not been eligible to play in the competition but the FAW reversed that decision in April this year.

County have appeared in three Welsh Cup finals, winning the trophy in 1980 when they beat Shrewsbury Town over two legs in the final.

They have finished as runners-up twice – most recently in 1987.

The Exiles haven’t played in the competition since the 1991/92 season when they were forced into exile following their refusal to join the newly formed League of Wales.

The 12 Welsh Premier League clubs, as well as County and Wrexham, have received byes into round three.

The first qualifying round draw was made before the UEFA Europa League match between Neath and Aalesunds FK on Thursday.

It is not clear at this stage whether County would be eligible to enter Europe if they were to win the cup.

Meanwhile, Exiles boss Anthony Hudson has failed in a bid to sign striker Matty Taylor from Evo-stick League (Southern) side North Leigh.

Taylor, who scored 40 goals in all competitions for North Leigh last season, had been offered a full-time contract with County but said the offer was not enough to tempt him into the professional game.

The player said: “I wanted to show a bit of loyalty to North Leigh. Offers have come in for me, but mainly from clubs in our league.

“I had an offer from Newport to go full-time, which I had to think about.

“Part of me wanted to go, but I can earn more staying at North Leigh than going full-time there.”

Hudson is still hopeful of agreeing a deal to sign Dover Athletic striker Adam Birchall.

He will also give triallists Adam Smith, Guillame Velez, Boe Ampleford and Sofiane Gherbi another chance to impress in next Wednesday’s friendly match at Merthyr Town.