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EXCLUSIVE | Robbie Willmott highlights team spirit as reason for ascending into the play-off positions

1 May 2019

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EXCLUSIVE | Robbie Willmott highlights team spirit as reason for ascending into the play-off positions

1 May 2019

He’s had the experience of a promotion with Newport County AFC before and Robbie Willmott says the team spirit in the current crop of players is better than that of the class of 2013.

Willmott joined County at the beginning of his first spell in January 2013 before helping the Exiles secure a return to the Football League later that campaign – scoring six goals along the way.

He got another priceless goal last night as County put themselves on the cusps of the play-offs with a battling 2-0 victory over Oldham Athletic at Rodney Parade.

A neat finish creeped into the near post with ten minutes remaining to confirm all three points, after Mark O’Brien opened the scoring with a stunning half-volley just after the restart.

The result means County’s play-off destiny is in their own hands knowing a victory at Morecambe on Saturday will be enough to secure a top-seven finish.

It’s a remarkable achievement from the Exiles to even get into this position as the club were languishing in 15th position at the tail end of February.

Going the last nine matches unbeaten – including seven clean sheets in that time – gives County confidence and Willmott says momentum is at an all-time high.

Here, you can read exactly what Willmott told iFollow Exiles following the conclusion of the contest.    


On the victory over Oldham Athletic…

"It’s tough when you’re against a team who hasn’t got anything to play for. They’ve got some very good individual players who could play with a real freedom.

"That sort of threw us in the first-half where we created chances but weren’t our normal selves.

"We seem to be very resolute at the moment, grinding out results and we’re not conceding which is making us very hard to beat.

"We’re just all over the moon with the result because we’re finally in the last play-off place.

"Like everyone has been saying all week, it’s in our hands and that’s the way we like it."


On Mark O’Brien getting another priceless goal for the Exiles…

"If he can do what he did against Notts County on Saturday, then we’ll be very grateful.

"He deserves a goal because he’s been immense this season, putting his head in where it hurts, and you need people like that in your side.

"I think the whole surrounding houses around Rodney Parade know that Mark O’Brien has a very lethal right foot. He doesn’t hit the target too often, but he can hit a house that’s for sure.

"To be fair, it was a great strike. He’s actually got a very good strike as you can see from the two goals he’s scored for the club."


On knowing nothing is done yet but the play-off dream can be achieved with victory at Morecambe…

"We don’t make it easy for ourselves and we know Morecambe are in good form.

They’ve got Kevin Ellison who obviously loves scoring against us, Aaron Collins will probably want to make his mark on the game having been let go.

"They’ve got some potential match winners but we’re going to go there with the mindset that we need three points and hopefully we can grind it out.

"We know we could potentially do it with a point but we don’t want to rely on anyone else’s results.

"We are the favourites now for the play-offs, but we won’t be going to Morecambe with that mindset. We have to go with the mindset that three points will get the job done. "


On wanting the Globe Arena packed with County supporters…

"If we can take as many as we can and make the Globe Arena amber and black and make as much noise as we can then hopefully, we can go there and get the job done for them.

"I know it’s a long trip for everyone, but we want as many people as possible up there with us. We’d really appreciate any support.

"You definitely need a great support and in the two spells I’ve been here, they’ve been fantastic to me. I truly, truly appreciate what they do for the club.

"There’s some special, special fans in the crowd and I can only say that I love every single one of them.

"They’ve been immense this season, carried us through some games this season and in the last nine games, we’ve needed them massively.

"Hopefully Saturday we can bring as many as we can and get the job done for them."  


On where the play-offs would rank in terms of his achievements at the club…

"I’ve been here before and got promoted and I can honestly say that the team spirit this time around is a lot, lot stronger than what we had then which is saying something because we had a very good group then.

"This would top everything. I’ve been on a very special journey with this club in the two good spells I’ve had here. It’s going to be up top if we do it because no-one expected us to get into the play-offs.

"People probably thought we’d fade away again, our budget isn’t the biggest, but we don’t know when we’re beaten and that’s a real good trait.

"We always knew it was going to be a tough ask. We knew we had a tough run in, but the gaffer says it all the time, we don’t make it easy for ourselves and we thrive off that.

"The FA Cup run this season was the same. People probably expected us to go out to Leicester, didn’t happen. People probably expected us to lose away at Middlesbrough, didn’t happen.

"To lose to the champions wasn’t a bad thing, they’re probably the best team in the world at the moment.

"It’s a special, special time for this football club."


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