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PRE-MATCH | Padraig Amond: "The club is probably better equipped now than it was a couple of years ago so we’re ready for it"

18 May 2021

Padraig Amond says he will be using Newport County AFC’s Wembley heartache to spur him on in the play-offs.

The striker played his part in helping the Exiles book their place in the play-off final two seasons ago after scoring against Mansfield Town in the semi-final at Rodney Parade.

County got the job done on penalties in the second leg at the One Call Stadium but suffered late heartbreak in the final after Connor Jennings’ late header in extra-time saw them fall to a 1-0 defeat against Tranmere Rovers.

But the Exiles find are gearing up for another promotion charge after sealing a place in the top seven for the second time in three seasons.

And Amond says he will be using his side’s disappointment at Wembley to fuel his motivation when County welcome Forest Green Rovers in the play-off semi-final first leg on Tuesday.

"I got married not long after that and went away on my honeymoon," said Amond.

"Quite a bit of the honeymoon, I kept showing my missus this picture of me after the game when I was dejected and saying, ‘I want to use this as motivation to get back to where we should be’.

"It’s a horrible way to lose the game. It’s bad enough losing in normal time, but to lose to the last kick of the game and know that there was no chance to come back is horrible.

"That’s something that we have, for the last couple of years, been desperate to change and rectify.

"The club is probably better equipped now than it was a couple of years ago, so I think we’re ready for it."

Amond and his team-mates will play in front of a home crowd for the first time in 14 months on Tuesday evening after the fixture was selected as a pilot event by the Welsh Government.

It will also be the first test event that will have fans present at a stadium in Wales since March 2020, with 900 fans set to be in attendance at Rodney Parade.

And the striker says he is relishing the return of the Amber Army.

"Having fans back in the ground will be great and we all saw what a difference they made to the FA Cup Final last weekend," added the striker.

"We need to use their support and noise to help us, just as we did two years ago at Mansfield in the play-off semi-final.

"Football is nothing without the fans and they will help to make it an even bigger and better occasion. We are confident going into the game, but we know they are a good side."

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