Newport County AFC’s latest signing – Jamille Matt – feels he will bring the required experience and expertise that can help the club towards their aspirations of a play-off place next season.
The 6’1” striker put pen to paper on a two-year contract with the club yesterday, which will see Matt stay at Rodney Parade through to the summer of 2020.
The 28-year old might be a familiar name to Exiles fans having scored past the club on four previous occasions – once last season with Grimsby Town and in the 2012/13 campaign when netting an all-headed hat-trick for Kidderminster Harriers.
He brings to County a wealth of Football League experience having made over 100 appearances across both League One and League Two – winning promotion from the fourth-tier on two occasions whilst with Fleetwood Town and Blackpool respectively.
Here, read what Matt exclusively told iFollow Exiles on his first day as an official Newport County AFC player – including why the play-offs must be a target for the Exiles next season, why he feels he has the experience behind him to help the club achieve that goal as-well as how he intends to help the younger members of the squad moving forward.
On joining Newport County AFC on a two-year deal…
“First of all, I just want to say thanks to all the fans for the welcome to Newport County AFC. It’s always nice to get a good welcome and when the news was announced yesterday there was a good reaction on Twitter. Hopefully I can have a successful relationship with those fans and the club.
“I’m very excited and happy to be joining this club. I spoke to the manager a couple of times over the summer and what stuck with me was how keen he was to bring me here so I’m happy to finally get it over the line.
“Mike Flynn was obviously one of the key factors in me joining. Obviously played against the team last year as-well and that team did really well when they played against us.
“It was something that stuck out and the team was towards the top end of the table and challenging, okay they fell off a little bit towards the end but hopefully – next year – we can go one better.”
On what he can bring to the Exiles next season having secured promotion from the division on two occasions…
“I would have to say that I see myself as the traditional target man. I like to play central and stay in and around the opposition penalty area.
“I will work my socks off without the ball as-well, I thrive off crosses. In a nutshell, I would say that that is me – I try to bring other players into play as-well but that’s pretty much me as a player.
“In terms of League 2, first and foremost, you have to be up for the challenge and up for that physical battle. And most importantly, you need to be able to play through the full 90 minutes – people can make a mistake and a chance could fall at any time, so you have to be ready to take that opportunity.
“Like you say, I’ve played a lot of games in League 2 and I’d like to think that I am accustomed to the league and I know what it takes to succeed. Looking to put that into practise moving forward.”
On how he plans to settle into the County frontline as-well as integrating into the squad as a whole…
“Padraig [Amond] is a great player. I’ve seen him play and I obviously knew of him because he had played for Grimsby Town before.
“We have a lot of mutual friends so I’ve spoken to them about him and they all say that he is a very good player. Obviously, he’s a player that if I can play alongside him then it will be good for the football club.
“In a team, you’ve got to be able to play alongside different kinds of people. Whoever the gaffer picks will obviously try to do the best job possible on the pitch.
“I’ve spoken to Mickey Demetriou because he was a teammate of mine from Kidderminster Harriers. He was keen to get me down and I had a really good relationship with him in the past. It’ll be great to start that up again.
“Fraser Franks was also another teammate of mine from when I was down with Stevenage. I spoke to Fraser a couple of days ago and same again really, we were both keen to get here and play.
“Looking forward to linking up with them again and obviously meeting all the new lads as-well. I think it’s good to have a few familiar faces but at the end of the day, you have to go in open minded ready to speak to everyone else.
“I’m just looking forward to getting started finally.”
On his targets for Newport County AFC next season…
“It’s an old cliché but it’s a marathon and not a sprint. You can start poorly but drive all the way to the top after Christmas to get to where you want to go.
“You can start great but then you might fall off. It doesn’t really make a difference which way around that happens – it’s a long season. It would be great to have a good start, but I’d much rather finish well and be challenging at the top of the table.
“First and foremost, you have to have a squad of players that will all pull together in the same direction. If you’ve got that and a little bit of team spirit then the momentum that will come from that will drive you on.
“When you start winning games, it snowballs from there and gives you confidence. It gets everyone behind you and that’s what it’s all about - everyone being together and pulling in the same direction.
“If we can do that then I’m sure we’ll be there or thereabouts.
“For me, to be in and around the play-offs or the top end of the table would be success. I’ve got promoted a couple of times in my career with different clubs – also been to the play-off final a couple of times as-well – so that must be an aim for me coming here.”
On trying to help the younger players within the squad…
“I think that I have taken on that role the last couple of years anyway [helping the younger players in the squad.]
“It’s something I have tried to do at my previous clubs and there’s things in my career that I have experienced, and some other players might not have. It’s something I do try to pass on because I think I’ve been fortunate enough to have played with some good, experienced players.
“To be fair to them, they’ve always tried to help me, so I think it’s only right that I try and do the same thing here. As a young player, if you get that little bit of expertise from an older player then it can settle you down a bit more and help you relax.
“The quicker you settle, the better you can play so it’s definitely something I’ll be looking to do when I can.”