Matty Dolan captaincy interview

Matty Dolan insists he will not feel any additional pressure after being named Newport County AFC’s captain for the upcoming season.

Dolan, who won the Exiles’ Player of the Season award for his performances throughout the 2020/21 campaign, has been handed the captaincy by manager Michael Flynn ahead of the opening day fixture against Oldham Athletic on Saturday.

The 28-year-old was one of several players - alongside the experienced Mickey Demetriou, Scot Bennett and James Clarke - who wore the armband during pre-season, but has now been given the nod to lead the Exiles for the new season.

It is the first time that Dolan has been handed the responsibility of club captain, although he insists it will not change the way he goes about his business.

"It’s a massive honour because I’ve been at the club for a long time now," said Dolan.

"The lads who’ve played with me for a while know that I’m a vocal player and I like to set standards high.

"That’s something that I’ll carry on doing now, whether I have the armband or not. I’ve worn the armband for the club before and I’ve always had that sense of pride when I’ve been given it. 

"It won’t affect me or change the way that I play, but I will be massively proud every time I put the armband on."

Dolan is one of the longest-serving players in the current squad and is now preparing for his fifth season at Rodney Parade following his move from Yeovil Town in 2017.

Stalwarts Bennett and Demetriou are also set for the sixth successive season in south Wales, while Clarke wore the armband during his time with Walsall.

And Dolan says there is no shortage of leaders in the Exiles' squad.

"Certain players aspire to be captains and it’s something that I’ve thought about as I’ve progressed through my career. I like to show those leadership qualities and any help that I can give to the club and the lads, I want to do that and lead by example. 

"We’ve got a lot of leaders in our dressing room who will be looking to set an example too but it will be a huge honour for me to be captain of this football club. 

"It’s something that I’m going to take very seriously to make sure I help this football club keep achieving things that we've achieved in previous years."

Dolan has led by example off the field during his time in south Wales after becoming an ambassador for the mental health programme We Wear the Same Shirt two years ago.

He also won the Sky Bet League Two PFA Player in the Community award last season for his involvement with County in the Community during the Covid-19 pandemic and says the squad will continue to support community initiatives in the upcoming campaign.

"I’ve got involved with a lot of the community activities ever since I signed for the football club," he added.

"I think a lot of credit for that goes to Norman Parselle and the club for what’s been set in place. I’ll continue to get involved with those as a captain and make sure that, as a group, everyone is linked in with that because it’s a massive part of what we do as a club."