Newport County AFC’s new goalkeeper – Nick Townsend – believes he has the right skillset to challenge Joe Day for the number one jersey at the club this season.
The 5’11” shot stopper put pen to paper on a two-year contract with the club yesterday, which will see Townsend stay at Rodney Parade through to the summer of 2020.
The 23-year old brings to the club some experience in the Football League having featured for Barnsley in both the Championship and League One, alongside various loan spells.
He has spent previous time with Oxford City in the Conference North during the 2012/13 campaign, together with similar stints at Lincoln City and Solihull Moors in the National League.
Here, read what Townsend exclusively told iFollow Exiles as he looks to challenge Joe Day for a starting berth in the upcoming campaign, what he learnt at his former employers and how he views himself between the sticks.
On joining Newport County AFC on a two-year contract…
“I’ve come here to hopefully push Joe Day and I think it is a good opportunity for me as-well coming back into the Football League.
“I feel like I’ve got a lot to prove coming into this football club – I want to push Joe Day obviously and also push myself at the same time.
“There is a great atmosphere here between the lads. Everything Mike Flynn has said on the phone shows that there is that kind of environment here.
“The players are a hard-working bunch of lads, everyone does graft down and I’ve really settled in on my first day at this football club.
“I’ve seen a lot of clips of League Two and it’s easy to see that this will be a physical league for me. There will be a lot of crosses put into the box, so you have to be strong in that part of your game. Hopefully I can step up to that.
“If I need to start, then I’m happy to start. At the end of the day, this is what I have been training for since the start of pre-season.”
On what type of goalkeeper he views himself as…
“I’ve got to say that I am a good shot stopper, I can use my feet well to try and get the team going on a counter-attack.
“That’s kind of like me I guess – I’m not the tallest but I use my agility, strength and spring to get around that.
“When Shay Given was playing, I did look up to him specifically growing up and base myself around him. He was top-class – world-class really – with the career he has had so I did look up to him.
“I’d also like to say that I am now a vocal goalkeeper – I think it comes with age and playing more games.
“You’re not there as a goalkeeper to yell at your defence, at the end of the day you are there to help them and most importantly help the team.
“If someone needs to be shouted at then you do it in the right way and help them learn from it. That comes with experience and I will try to do that on the pitch.
“When it comes to being a sweeper keeper, you just have to make sure that at the end of the day you protect your goal.
“If it has to go out for a throw-in then it has to go out for a throw-in. Don’t take any risks.
“That idea of a sweeper keeper is coming into the game massively and you have to decide when to play and when not to play. That’s a huge part of football these days.
“At the end of the day, a goalkeeper is there for one reason and that is to stop the goals going in.”
On how he hopes to make the number one jersey his own during his time with the club…
“I’m planning to just take things game by game. I just need to keep my level of performance going, concentrate in every match and training session to make sure everything is right.
“I’ve obviously looked at that [Joe Day’s statistics since he joined the Exiles] and they are very impressive.
“That could intimidate some people because he’s the number one goalkeeper but like I said, I’ve come here to push him and push myself most importantly.
“It’s going to take a lot of hard-work at the end of the day [to become the club’s number one.] That’s hard-work on and off the pitch - all that really.
“I’m sure it’ll be a good competition between us, we’ll push each other on and off the pitch to make us better goalkeepers.”
On what he learnt from his time at previous clubs…
“For me, my time at Solihull Moors was more about getting back to basics really. I think I needed to do that and get into a rhythm of playing games again.
“I was very grateful to Solihull for giving me that loan opportunity, I did a bit of training with them in pre-season as-well and they’ve helped me out massively.
“To be fair, it’s a great set-up there. I was actually born in Solihull, so it was local for me.
“With Barnsley [playing in League One and the Championship] it was still a case of keeping my concentration and consistency with it all.
“At the end of the day, a game is a game and you are there regardless of level for three points.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to bring the experience of playing in the Championship and in League One with me here at Newport.
“I just want to breakthrough into the team here and push Joe Day as hard as I can.”
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