Newport County AFC goalkeeper Nick Townsend is relishing the chance to prove himself when Premier League giants West Ham United visit Rodney Parade for tomorrow’s Carabao Cup second-round clash.
The Exiles saw off Gillingham in the last round, largely thanks to the heroics of Townsend in the penalty shoot-out, which set up the tie with the Hammers.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side won’t be the first Premier League outfit to visit the city in recent years with Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City all taking on Michael Flynn’s men in the Emirates FA Cup over the last couple of seasons – only double-defending Premier League champions Manchester City managed to claim a victory in Wales.
Leeds United and Middlesbrough have also felt the force of Rodney Parade in that time and Townsend believes the fans could once again guide Newport to another famous victory.
“I don’t think any team is going to underestimate us now,” he said.
“Any team that comes here knows they will be in for a game. We’ve just got to play our own game and focus on how we play and try and get another scalp.
“The crowd that do come support us all the way to the death, it’s great. It does give you that boost that you need.
“I think we are a good footballing team, we play a lot of good football and I don’t think we get the recognition for it.
“Everyone says we’re a long-ball team but we’re definitely not. We can do both. We’ve played a lot of good football this season and last season.
“It’s great to show what we can do as a club and as a group of players.”
The 24-year-old is looking forward to going up against one of the best sides in the country and sees it as a great opportunity to impress.
“It’s massive. I did my bicep and that put me back but it’s massive for me,” he added.
“I’m taking everything day by day and keep going like that. I do my best in training and when games come like this, I’ve just got to prove myself.
“I’ve got to prove to everyone what I can do, you can do it on the training field but it’s not the same as a match.
“I feel great with how I am playing; I feel confident and hopefully I can carry that on if I’m picked.
“[Tom] King has been strong, he’s not really put a foot wrong in the games he has played, obviously shown by the clean sheets but I think it’s a good thing for the gaffer to have, a headache between us two.
“It’s a strong competition between us. You don’t want to just wait for the cup games to come around, you want to be playing every game.”
The Sky Sports cameras will be taking in the action tomorrow evening and although Townsend isn't used to playing in front of millions at home, he insists that won't be a distraction.
“Leading up to the game it is in the back of your mind but once the whistle blows you go into your own mindset and get on with the game," he said.
“You can play in front of 25,000 or 5,000, I think once you are in the mindset of a game it blocks everything out.
“Hopefully it’s the first game on TV that we are going to have here [this season]. It’s massive for the club, it’s putting Newport on the map, which is great for everyone. It brings everyone together.”
Kick-off is at 7.45pm tomorrow. More than 5,500 tickets have been sold so far and you can grab yours at the Rodney Parade Ticket Office from 12pm tomorrow, read more ticket info here.
Looking for some more pre-match information to whet the appetite ahead of kick-off? Read Ryan Robinson's Match Preview by clicking here.