On the eve of the 2022-23 season, Newport County manager James Rowberry expressed his excitement to start and outlined his desire to put smiles on the faces of County fans this season.
County get their campaign underway on Saturday afternoon with a 3pm kick-off at Sutton United and, after a busy pre-season and eight new arrivals to date, the manager can't wait to see the summer work get its first taste of competitive football.
“I can’t wait, it’s exciting. I’m excited to see all our work that we’ve done together in the last six weeks come together. I’m looking forward to seeing all our fans and seeing how we end up," he said.
Much has been made of this summer being Rowberry's first, both with the club and in management and how the eight new faces signal the start of the boss moulding the club into his own image. He is keen to stress, however that this remains a Newport County team, rather than his own.
“If we include [James] Waite in January, I’ve made nine [permanent] signings all together since I’ve been here, so it’s starting to shape into a Newport County team – I keep saying it’s not a James Rowberry team.
"It’s the players that we brought in, not just I brought in. It’s always a team effort in how we try to do it and they’re the type of players that we feel will suit our style.
“With the pre-season we had, with what I believe is the right way to work with myself and my staff, we believe we’ve given ourselves every opportunity to be successful with what we’ve got. One thing I’ll tell you about this lot is that they are hungry, they’re really hungry to succeed.
“I’ve got a mindset this year of that I want more clean sheets, we need to do that, we need to add that to our armoury.
"We’ll be as expansive as what we try to be but we’ll have that little bit more security behind the ball. It’ll very much be a Newport County team and a Newport County way, the way we play.
"I’m pretty sure that the fans will be excited to see what we’ve got, I want to put smiles on people’s faces, I want people to come away from games and say they enjoyed it.
"I look at last year, the fans are remarkable.
"We finished 11th and I think we’ve had one of the highest average attendances we’ve ever had at Rodney Parade, I think they enjoy the way we’re playing, now we’ve got to add results to it.
“I don’t want to say we’ve got a dream of what we want to do, because we’ve got a plan. We’ve got to peak at the right time, we’re not going to peak day one. We’re still learning, we’re still developing, we’re still enhancing what we’re trying to do."
County have almost have their entire squad to choose from, however they will be without two of their centre backs. James Clarke has picked up a knock to his hip while Priestley Farquharson has been marked as "close" to returning to action.
The aim for Farquharson, Rowberry says, is to get him fit for the League Cup tie at Championship side Luton on August 9 after the defender played 45 minutes of pre-season in the 4-0 win at Weston-Super-Mare.