Danny Potter Tom Miller
Newport County have acted swiftly to quell the growing concerns about relegation following the 3-2 defeat to Bath City on Tuesday evening by announcing the transfer listing of three players and the signing of two others. In an e-news statement that was released to the club’s fans prior to the official media announcement this morning, goalkeeper Danny Potter (above left) and Tom Miller, a former Norwich City Young Players’ Player of the Year (above right) were transfer listed, in addition to misfiring County target man Craig McAllister.
Craig McAllister in action during home defeat to Ebbsfleet United earlier in the season.
(All photos reproduced by kind permission of Sam Shingler)
Although there were some concerns and misgivings, the news was met with general approval by the fans. Danny Potter has not managed to find his best form this season, having been accused of failing to command the penalty box, whilst Craig McAllister, despite his work rate and contribution to the team, has simply not scored enough goals to justify his position. Tom Miller is an undoubted talent who was only signed during the last January transfer window from Irish side Dundalk. Whilst his ability may mean that he prospers at another club, his contribution to County during the course of the season has been sufficient cause for concern that Justin Edinburgh has felt the need to dispense with his services.
Whilst the transfer listing of three players, two of whom were regular first team players, Justin Edinburgh has sent out a stark warning to the rest of the squad that he is looking for enthusiasm from those who remain and that no player’s position in the side or with the club is safe. These are strong words but with a daunting task ahead of Newport as they travel to Kenilworth Road to meet third placed Luton Town on Saturday, the addition of a couple of new players and an upsurge of enthusiasm are surely required.
Whilst the gap between Luton Town and the two teams above them makes automatic promotion highly unlikely, the Hatters will expect to finish in the top five and gain promotion to the football league via the play offs. They are comfortably the best supported team in the division and they will see the home game against Newport as an opportunity to close the gap on Wrexham and Fleetwood, both of whom are occupied with the FA Cup this weekend.
If Newport are to restrict the march of Luton back to the football league, they will need to sort out their shaky defence away from home and retain the ball much better than they did against Bath. Despite the concern about a lack of goals, Newport have actually netted 10 times in the last 4 away games but defensive frailties have meant that they still only came away with four points. They will hope that the signing of Andy Sandell from Chippenham Town will help to address this issue. The 28 year old left back, who also has the ability to join in the attack from the left flank, has been a regular for league clubs Bristol Rovers and Aldershot in recent seasons and was a significant squad member for Wycombe Wanderers last season before moving to Chippenham Town. With 33 career goals at an average of around 6 a season, he has a proven ability to find the net, meaning Justin Edinburgh will have some different attacking options in addition to a player that Newport County will be desperately hoping can fill the troubled left back position.
In addition to Andy Sandell, Newport have also signed Ryan Charles, who is moving from one amber army (Cambridge United) to another, on loan until the end of the season. Like McAllister, Charles is a player who has been struggling to find the net this season. However the striker, who can also play as a winger, started his career at Luton Town and spent 9 seasons in the youth team at Kenilworth Road before signing professionally in 2007. Justin Edinburgh may well be tempted to give Charles his debut against his former club, as the manager seeks to keep Newport out of the bottom four. However, whilst the striker can be expected to create plenty of problems for Conference defences, Charles is not being brought into the club in the expectation that he will provide the 15-20 goals a season that County so desperately need. with a career average of a goal in only every 6.5 games, Charles will be expected to create opportunities for the likes of Jarvis whilst hopefully contributing around 10 goals a season himself.
With fresh faces on show and more changes to the squad to come, Newport go into this game with little to lose. After the defeat at Bath, few are expecting them to get a result and, with the rearranged home game against Bath y now being confirmed for 17 January, County know that the real test of their survival credentials with come with that home game and the subsequent game with Forest Green Rovers at Spytty four days later.
Although County were knocked out of the FA Cup by Shrewsbury Town at the 1st Round stage, why not add your vote to the poll asking which Welsh teams will make the FA Cup 4th Round on the left hand side of this article.