Having Andrew Crofts available as a source of information and advice will be crucial for Josh Sheehan moving forward into the 2018/19 campaign, according to the Exiles midfielder himself.
The 23-year old played for 22 minutes alongside his captain in the 3-1 defeat to Stoke City U23s, although has featured more prominently with the Welsh international in other pre-season matches.
In what was the first pre-season match at Rodney Parade for over three years, it was the young Stoke side who took a lead into half-time as Daniel James struck after 35 minutes.
Padraig Amond continued his rich vein of pre-season form when powering a header past Daniel Gyollai to equalise on 51 minutes, but County were ultimately left to suffer defeat following two clinical Stoke finishes late on.
Tyrese Campbell – son of former Arsenal attacker Kevin Campbell – scored both goals to earn his side victory, curling a splendid strike into the bottom corner from outside the area before firing through the County trialist goalkeeper from an acute angle.
Here, read what Sheehan thought about that game in South Wales, how the side are planning to hit the ground running in the upcoming campaign and why being able to turn to his captain for advice will prove beneficial across the season and beyond.
On the defeat to Stoke City U23s in the final game of pre-season…
“I thought we started the game well in the first-half but then it kind of died off a little bit.
“Second half I thought we started really well again, we camped them in their penalty area, attacked well and we probably should have scored a few more goals.
“We made a few more substitutions and then we lost our tempo really. With the pace of the game after that, Stoke were clinical when they counter attacked.
“We have to look at the positives and the positive is that we created chances. Obviously in League Two then we’ll have to take them because we’ll obviously be playing a lot stronger teams.
“We’re obviously very disappointed coming off the pitch today because you want to win the game regardless of whether its pre-season, younger or older team, you want to win the game regardless really.
“We have come off the pitch disappointed but it’s more minutes in the legs, no injuries, so we just look forward to next weekend now.”
On his reflections of pre-season as a whole…
“It’s been all different sets of levels and a lot of different types of tests.
“At Chippenham Town, it was more physical and then at Swansea City, you knew they were going to play the ball more.
“All different sorts of tests which the team will have in League Two because there are lots of different teams and different styles of play in the division.
“It’s been a good pre-season so far, one more week and we’ll look to hit the ground running at Mansfield Town then.”
On the integration within the squad ahead of the new campaign…
“It’s a new midfield if you like but we’ve got on well from the start.
“I feel like we’ve gelled really quick both on and off the field, we’ve done stuff off the pitch to bond so I feel like it’s good going into the season.
“Obviously some of the players are living together in houses in Newport. We’ve gone for food as a team which helps, we’ve gone bowling to get that competitive edge as-well.
“In training, we have games that create a lot of banter between the lads, so everyone has settled in well and we’re looking forward to the new season starting now.
“It obviously helps me as-well coming in right from the start because in a way, it’s my first pre-season at the club.
“It helps a lot – we have a good team here, but we just need to take it game by game. Whatever team the gaffer picks, they will try to go out and win the game.”
On having club captain Andrew Crofts as a source of advice moving forward…
“Crofty has already told the boys that if you want to speak to him then don’t be afraid to ask him to talk to you.
“He’s got all that experience and he’s ready to give it out to the younger players – even the older players as-well because he’s reached the top of this sport before.
“Playing for his country is one of the top levels and you get to play with the best players around. If Crofty is there, he’s told us to go and speak to him if we need advice and I’m pretty sure most of the boys will do that.
“He’s also a good link between the coaches and the players. It’s going to help us a lot I feel and I think it’s the right decision him being skipper.”
On the League Two curtain raiser against Mansfield Town next weekend…
“We’ve already forgotten about the last time we played away at Mansfield Town. It’s a new team this year so we’ll forget about that.
“But we’ll obviously look at the goals we conceded because we don’t want to do that again. We want to go there, put a marker down at the start of the season and hit the ground running.
“We back ourselves in that game because you never know how other teams are going to do at the start of the season.
“You can’t really go off the results in pre-season, we’re going to back ourselves, go for the win and see how it goes.”
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