Newport County re-sign David Pipe and Robbie Willmott

Robbie Willmott
Robbie Willmott spent last season with Chelmsford City

Newport County have re-signed two key players who helped them into the EFL after agreeing deals with David Pipe and Robbie Willmott.

Pipe, 33, a former Wales international, returns for a third spell with the Exiles after a loan deal last season.

Willmott, who had taken a job away from football after a spell in non-league, signed a new two-year deal.

Goalkeeper Joe Day and defender Mark O'Brien, who scored the goal that kept County up, also signed two year deals.

Meanwhile, forward Marlon Jackson has also agreed a one-year extension, alongside Pipe.

Rekindling Newport dream for Willmott

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The Great Escape: This is Newport County's story

Willmott, 26, returns to the Exiles having been part of the side promoted to the Football League in 2013, however, he has failed to return to an EFL club since being released by the club the following summer.

He gave up on ever returning to the sport and had taken up a job as a maintenance man with a supermarket but then had spells with Ebbsfleet, Bishop's Stortford and Chelmsford.

"I went to Ebbsfleet, finished at Bishop's Stortford and then questioned myself, I didn't think it was for me to keep playing," he said.

"I spoke to my family, my dad said to give it another year, but halfway through last season I decided to get a job.

"I was learning to be a maintenance man on the job, then I got a text saying about coming back to Newport.

"I didn't even open the message, I just got straight on the phone to my agent and said 'get it sorted.'

"I knew where I wanted to go, I would have taken a pay cut to come back.

"I would have come back last year, I never wanted to leave here in the first place. I love the club."

WRU helping Newport attract players

Rodney Parade pitch
Newport County suffered postponements and abandonments because of the Rodney Parade pitch in 2016-17

Ask any football fan for a fact about Newport County and chances are you will receive a comment about the state of the pitch.

However, after the Welsh Rugby Union completed their takeover of Newport Gwent Dragons, including taking control of Rodney Parade, things look set to change.

County boss Mike Flynn told BBC Wales Sport that the communications he has received word the WRU will install a Desso pitch, the hybrid playing surface used at other dual-purpose grounds, such as the Liberty Stadium.

That is to ease the pressure on ground staff with County, the Dragons and Newport RFC all sharing a facility.

"I hope the pitch is the biggest news of all, I've just signed five players on the back of the pitch and they will be calling me a liar if it doesn't happen," he said.

"We've been told and it has been reported that the WRU are putting down a Desso pitch and that is fantastic news.

"It gives me a great platform to produce the football on the pitch to excite the crowd."

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