Last season was an odd one for Newport County, they spent the opening weeks flirting with relegation before suddenly skipping into a play-off spot. Justin Edinburgh departed and the club lacked consistency in the remaining months of the season, eventually finishing 9th. Now they have former England defender Terry Butcher, who’ll take no nonsense in his ambition to get his new side promoted.
Last Season: League Two (9th)
Manager: Terry Butcher
GKs: Rhys Taylor, Joe Day
DFs: Danny Holmes, Scott Barrow, Kevin Feely, Matt Taylor, Nathan Ralph, Seth Nana Twumasi, Andrew Hughes, Regan Poole
MFs: Yan Klukowski, Mark Byrne, Kieran Parselle
FWs: Lenell John-Lewis, Scott Boden, Tom Owen-Evans, Alex Rodman, Aaron Collins
In: Scott Barrow (Macclesfield Town), Rhys Taylor (Macclesfield Town), Lenell John-Lewis (Grimsby Town), Alex Rodman (Gateshead), Danny Holmes (Tranmere Rovers), Nathan Ralph (Yeovil Town), Seth Nana Twumasi (Yeovil Town), Medy Elito (VVV-Venlo), Matt Taylor (Cheltenham Town), Scott Boden (Halifax Town)
Out: Ryan Jackson (Gillingham), Darren Jones (Forest Green Rovers), Aaron O’Connor (Released), Shaun Jeffers (Released), Lee Minshull (Released), Joe Parker (Released), Lenny Pidgeley (Released), Max Porter (Released), Andrew Sandell (Released), Jamie Stephens (Released), Robbie Willmott (Released), Ismail Yakubu (Released), Mike Flynn (Released), Kyle Patten (Released), Adam Chapman (Released)
First Six: Cambridge United (A), Stevenage (H), Hartlepool United (A), Leyton Orient (H), Plymouth Argyle (A), York City (H)
Likely Lineup: (4-4-2) Taylor – Holmes, Feely, Taylor, Ralph – John-Lewis, Parselle, Byrne, Klukowski – Boden, Elito
A word from…Paul Bignot
On his time at the club I really enjoyed it there, I was at the club for two and a half years after initially being there on loan. The club wasn’t in such a great position when I first arrived to be honest, we were down the wrong end of the table.
But I really enjoyed it there under Dean (Holdsworth), we went onto win the league and we did it in great style, it was a really good time for me, we were breaking records and playing good football and it was great to be a part of.
On the step up It was a dream to be honest, we had a good system and a good team. It was our first season in the Conference but if you come up from the North or the South and you can keep the majority of your team together you’ve got a good chance.
It’s much easier if you can do that, you’ve got that momentum about you that’s running through the whole group and it allows you to push on. Barrow have just gone up and I fancy them to do similar to what we did.
On the club’s ambitions They were clear as day from day one to be honest. The people on the board, the staff and the fans are all hugely passionate about the club. There was no talk about standing still, they wanted to go places.
They wanted to climb and keep going once they were in the football league and they weren’t far off making the play-offs last season which would have been a huge achievement given where we were five years ago.
There’s been a lot of changes, a lot of players come in and out but that’s natural in the football league. You can use it as an excuse but most the teams are the same, the turnover is always massive, it’s just one of those things.
On the new season I’m hoping Terry (Butcher) will do well there. The club have got a great following of good, passionate fans so they’ll like and appreciate having someone like Terry in charge.
He’ll get them going, make sure they’re always sharp and ready to go, that’s what he did as a player. I’m a big believer in experience down the spine of your team and he’ll make sure they have that. There’s nothing wrong with mixing it up and having a balance of youth and experience but having some leadership is crucial.
The Offside Rule Podcast Prediction: They’ve got a manager who will fight to the very end but he’s still got work to do before the season starts. The midfield is thin and there are many new players to integrate, a slow start would put Newport on the back foot immediately.
Key Player: Kevin Feely – He’ll be the one constant from last season’s side at the back for Newport given the revolution over the summer and despite his young age can help the others around him. He played consistently last season and should go from strength to strength this campaign.
One to Watch: Kieran Parselle – Promoted from the academy this summer, the midfielder may get plenty of chances early doors given Butcher’s lack of midfield options.