Matty Dolan says the squad are looking to provide some Christmas Cheer to the Newport County AFC fans on Saturday against Cheltenham Town following the 2-0 defeat to Wycombe Wanderers.
Goals from Nathan Tyson and Adebayo Akinfenwa condemned County to a defeat on Boxing Day, with Tyson grabbing his goal after just a quarter-of-an-hour.
On his 100th appearance for the Chairboys, Luke O’Nien superbly picked out Tyson on the edge-of-the-area, who superbly cutback through Ben White before calmly curling home the opener from just inside the area.
Akinfenwa put the game beyond doubt with twelve minutes of the match remaining, chesting down a Joe Jacobson free-kick before smashing a volley into the top corner from 15 yards.
The Exiles did have their chances at Adams Park, but found the Wycombe defence and the goalframe too stubborn to break down.
Joss Labadie hit the crossbar early in the second-half, while substitute Padraig Amond saw his header cleared off the goal-line.
Post-match, Dolan spoke exclusively to iFollow Exiles about the Wycombe game, how he spent his Christmas day with another County player and how he hopes the squad responds at Cheltenham on Saturday.
On the Wycombe game…
“Obviously, it was very disappointing from ourselves.
“Didn’t start off well enough which gave them the early goal. In the second half, I think we got ourselves back into the game.
“But obviously we’re all aware of what the big man brings up-top and it was kind of a cheap goal to give away when we were pretty much the dominant side second-half.
“That kind of took the wind out of our sails and what have you, but the games are coming so thick and fast now.
“We’ve got Cheltenham coming up which is a massive game for ourselves, so we’ve got to prepare and get ready for that and put this one behind us and make sure we get three points there.”
On the slow start made by the Exiles at Adams Park…
“I think we were kind of stuck in between two minds of playing and we were just a bit off it.
“It happens, I think we’ve been fantastic all season as a group. We work so hard and I don’t know if we just had 10, 15 or 20 minutes where we were off it.
“We addressed that at half-time obviously, but you always give yourselves a mountain to climb at 1-0. Skips (Joss Labadie) obviously hit the bar and even in the first-half we had some good chances.
“Frank has flashed a couple of crosses across the face of goal that on another day Shawn is there to put it in, I’m there to put them in. But you can’t give yourselves a 1-0 deficit and like you said, the second goal we’re really disappointed about it.
“It’s something we were aware of, but the games are thick and fast now, so we’ve got our chance to put it right at Cheltenham.”
On the 261 County fans that made the trip to Wycombe on Boxing Day…
“It’s an incredible effort.
“Like you say, on Boxing Day, and to be fair I think it’s one of the longest trips on a Boxing Day in the Football League.
“There’s probably only Plymouth vs MK Dons and things like that which are longer.
“Fair to play to them, incredible effort and obviously we’re very disappointed in that dressing room that we couldn’t get them the three points.
“I know I was clapping them at the end there and they were telling us to keep our chin up, so it shows that they are fully behind us and we appreciate everything they do for us.
“We’ll look to put a smile on their face over the next few games.”
On the trip to Cheltenham Town on Saturday…
“We’ve played against Cheltenham already this season and we know they have a few big lads up there, Harry Pell is up there in the middle of the park and whatever, so we know what they are all about.
“I think they got beat 2-0 today so I think they will be gunning for a win as-well. Let’s take it over to them, I’m sure after an incredible effort from the fans on Boxing Day that they’ll take quite a few over to Cheltenham and we’ll look to put on a show for them. They deserve a bit of Christmas cheer after that one.
“As footballers, you all know what the Christmas period is all about. Everyone prepares ready for that, nobody took the mick and there were good levels of fitness out there today. You couldn’t question anyone’s fitness levels today.
“I’d say that’s down to the quality of the strength and conditioning coaches, the physio, the manager – everyone really looking after each-other.
“So it will be a quick turnaround, it’s the busiest period but also the best time of year. A good few results now could push us back up the table.
“We’re more than a match for anyone in this league so we go again, we make sure we stay there or thereabouts and keep a run going.”
On missing Mark O’Brien and Joss Labadie for that trip to Gloucestershire…
“We knew from day one that we have a small squad. But the squad is so tight-knit that it’s the best team spirit that I’ve been involved with in my career – and that’s saying something.
“I’ve been promoted to the Championship with a small squad and this squad is so tight-knit that when a bit of adversity comes around, we’re ready for it.
“Like you say, we keep going, everyone will get their heads down and make sure we recover right.
“We’ll do our homework; the staff will do their homework and we’ll prepare right from now until Cheltenham. Ultimately, when it comes to Cheltenham we’ll make sure that we put things right.”
On how he spent his Christmas Day…
“I had Mark O’Brien come around to my house.
“I went and picked him up and my missus cooked us a lovely Christmas dinner. Not too much like!
“We fell asleep on the couch first and then were wrapped up in bed by ten. Rock and Roll Christmas really but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
“Boxing Day is an amazing day to play football, unfortunately not the result we wanted but like I said, that New Year period is something we’ll relish.
“We can have our blow out in the summer, so just enjoy it now and look forward to it.”