Exiles defender Mark O’Brien made a welcome return to first-team action in the narrow 1-0 defeat at league leaders Exeter City.
The 24-year-old sat out the midweek defeat to Forest Green in the Checkatrade Trophy with the hamstring injury picked up at last weekend’s 4-1 victory over Chesterfield.
But O’Brien returned straight into the starting team at St James Park, playing 75 minutes on his sixth appearance of the season.
Post-match, he spoke exclusively to iFollow Exiles about the game, having back-to-back matches at Rodney Parade coming up and his thoughts on the season so far.
On the game itself…
“To be honest, it was one of those games that was hard fought by both teams and it was going to take a half-chance or one side to take their chances to win the game and obviously they took their chance.
“We had a handful of chances in the first-half that maybe we should have taken and maybe on another day that goal in the first-half gets given and we can be standing here with a different result.
“But, we’re going to keep working hard and fighting as we do and bounce back from this.”
On having two games at Rodney Parade coming up…
“We came up against a good side today and they are going to be up there this season.
“We showed how good of a side we are this year after adding some quality to the team.
“We’ve got home games coming up now and obviously we’ve chances to rectify today and we’re looking to do that and we’ll focus on that now.”
On the season so far…
“We are going into games full of confidence, we are where we are because we’re playing really well.
“We know if we are going to attack teams and we out-run them and out-fight them then we’ll have half a chance and we’ve shown anything is possible with what happened last year.
“Like I said, we know that we have nothing to fear in this league.
“If we do put them on the back foot then we know we are well capable and have enough quality to create chances and hopefully on another day we come away with a better result.”
O’Brien and fellow centre-half Mickey Demetriou both joined the Exiles in January, signing new contract extensions over the summer.
Since committing their futures to the Club in the Summer, the pair are now sharing a house and O'Brien discussed what it’s like sharing a house with a fellow team-mate.
On sharing a house with Mickey Demetriou…
“On the pitch, it’s work-time. We both know that if I was to say something to him or he says something back that we don’t take it to heart or anything.
“But like I say, we get on really well and it’s one of them things that it’s a bond we had last season and hopefully we’re building on it for this year now.
On the arrival of Mickey’s new son, Theo…
“I’m delighted for him.
“Obviously, as you say it’s one of those things where it’s nervous times where he’s waiting around for the birth of his new baby.
“But I’m delighted for him because now it’s put his mind at ease and he can get back into concentrating on football now and he doesn’t have to worry so much about what’s happening at home.”
On potential babysitting duties…
“No, he’s not got me on the babysitting duties just yet.
“I’m going to wait until the baby is a little bit older and then I’ll start looking after him but as for now I think the baby is going to stay where he is.”