NEW boy Priestley Farquharson has been tipped to be a hit in the Newport County AFC defence – with the pace and power to keep on rising.

The 23-year-old became an Exile last week on a contract through to 2023 after the League Two promotion hopefuls paid an undisclosed fee to Connah's Quay.

The Englishman helped the Deeside club to become Welsh champions and his performances led to a summer trial with Belgian top-flight side KV Oostende.

County have bought a player of promise for the future – but Farquharson's former boss believes the central defender has the talent that could also give a lift to the push for League One.

Andy Morrison was a centre-back in the Premier League with Blackburn and captained Manchester City to promotion to what is now the Championship, becoming a Maine Road cult hero.

"Priestley has got every attribute to be a top defender," said Morrison. "That guarantees nothing in football but the raw talents are there.

"Priestley is incredibly strong and he is incredibly quick, he is powerful but can also look after the ball.

"I still believe there is work to be done with him in certain areas of the game but for what you want in modern-day football, being able to leave him in one-on-one situations with anyone, he is the template.

"His greatest asset is that pace and power, which allows him to be in those one-on-one situations."

STRONG: Priestley Farquharson in action for Connahs Quay against Sarajevos Mersudin Ahmetovic

STRONG: Priestley Farquharson in action for Connah's Quay against Sarajevo's Mersudin Ahmetovic

Farquharson will aim to put pressure on the back three of David Longe-King, Matty Dolan and Mickey Demetriou.

The County defence has looked a little shaky in recent weeks, although the Exiles still have the sixth best record in the division.

On whether Farquharson will need time to make the step up, Morrison pointed to the Nomads' Champions League qualifier against FK Sarajevo in August.

He said: "I've not seen enough of League Two to be able to comment on that but what I can say is that we played the Bosnian champions and the striker - Mersudin Ahmetovic - was an international who is 6ft 3ins.

"Priestley dominated him completely, so if there are those sorts of players in the division then he can more of hold his own.

"It's obviously a step up but we also have the benchmark of European football, and in those games nothing has fazed him."

County have switched between a central three and flat four, with Farquharson able to provide Flynn with those options.

"He is comfy in a four but I think his greatest strength is on the right of a three, dealing with counter attacks in the channels and with anybody who wants to pull him out wide," said Morrison.

There is pride in Connah's Quay at the part they have played in helping the defender earn an EFL chance, two years after he arrived from Hayes and Yeading.

The hope is that the same work ethic he has shown as a Nomad will help him progress as an Exile.

"As soon as he joined us we knew that he had the attributes but it was just about developing them, and there is still work to be done," said Morrison.

"If he progresses then I can't see any reason why he can't establish himself in the team. He has to go into Newport, earn the respect of the other players, work his way into the team and then stay there.

"He has to keep working hard. I believe he has every attribute to play at the highest level but that means nothing in football.

"You need a bit of good fortune but I believe if you are working hard enough and are dedicated then those opportunities will come."

Newport aim to end an eight-game League Two winless streak when they host Grimsby tomorrow.