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Newport County Still In Dark Over Any Squad Re-Build After Losing Six Players

By Paul Jones

Newport County still have no idea when they will be able to strengthen their squad after losing six players this week.

The League Two club said farewell to out-of-contract first teamers – including key men Jamille Matt and Scot Bennett – due to the growing uncertainty over their financial position.

But there is also huge doubt over when and how they may be able to sign fresh players with the transfer window period still not settled.

Newport and other clubs in the EFL want the transfer window to open next month and be extended until January as they want to trade players to make up for the lost income after Leagues One and Two were halted early.

But the Premier League clubs want the window to close in October to fall in with UEFA guidelines, even though the new League One and Two seasons may only start that month.

It all leaves clubs like County in the dark over cash flow and how managers like Michael Flynn can be expected to build new squads.

Premier League clubs held a conference call on the issue of the transfer window on Tuesday and Richard Masters, Premier League chief executive, said: “We have to have clarity.

“Obviously, you have lots of leagues finishing, and curtailing, and finishing at different times. We’re waiting for the various guidance from other bodies.

“Understanding when we’re going to start and finish, and what other leagues are doing, I think is important.”

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Newport said they had “not made any offers to our out-of-contract squad” due to the financial uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

As well as striker Matt and defender Bennett, defender Jay Foulston, plus forwards Dominic Poleon and Momodou Touray also left Rodney Parade. Mark O’Brien had already announced his retirement with a heart problem.

Matt, 30, joined Newport in June 2018 after being released by Blackpool and scored 20 goals in his first campaign, forming a strong partnership with Padraig Amond. Last season he scored six goals.

Memorably, he scored a superb header in the FA Cup win against Leicester last year and late strike in Morecambe that earned a place in the play-offs.

“The last two years have been brilliant and there have been some great memories which I am proud to be a part of when I look back,” he said.

“Also, a big thank you to the gaffer and ‘Hats’ (assistant Wayne Hatswell) for bringing me to the club in the first place.

“The boys are some of the best I’ve played with, on and off the pitch, and some have become very close friends. It’s not the way I envisioned leaving the club but we will cross paths again I’m sure.

“To the Amber Army, you’ve welcomed me in since day one and the sense of community within the club and the city has been something I was proud to be part of. No longer a player but will always be a member of the Amber Army!”


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