Forward Seb Palmer-Houlden says he hopes he can become a major asset in Newport County’s frontline this season as his side prepare to face Wrexham on Saturday afternoon (3pm).
The Exiles make the trip to STōK Cae Ras on the weekend, with the fixture being the first competitive meeting between the two sides since December 2018.
And the Bristol City loanee is hoping to get into the box a lot more and help out where he can in order to push the Exiles towards the top end of the Sky Bet League Two table.
“I think my game since being at Newport has developed massively," he said.
“When you’re working with the likes of Omar Bogle who’s been there and done it at the top level, and even with Will Evans too, it's been an invaluable experience. Sometimes I think in games I can be a bit too eager and sometimes it’s learning when to hold off and when to go and press, so I think I’m learning lots and progressing each week.
“I really enjoyed the goal against Barnet a few weeks back and the game as a whole. I just love getting in behind defenders and that game suited me perfectly in all honesty. That goal and that game meant an awful lot, especially after coming back from injury.
“The injury hasn’t given me any further problems so far, so I feel as fit as normal and if anything I feel quicker. The injury period I would say was a learning curve for me, to manage my body a little bit better off the pitch and just make smart choices. It’s all about learning as a footballer and especially at my age. To have been back over the last few games has been amazing, and to top it off with a goal the other week was brilliant.
“The amount of boys that are coming back at this stage is huge. With [Harry] Charsley returning, digs [Aaron Wildig], Adam Lewis is nearly there too, it suddenly all looks positive at the moment. We’re building some really good squad strength and depth, especially with experienced players who can come off the bench and influence the game. When we have the full squad available, anything can happen.
“For me, at the moment I’m continuously focused on pushing myself to be in the starting eleven each week and if that’s scoring goals along the way, then brilliant, but all my focus is on supporting the team."
Saturday brings the beginning of a busy schedule for Graham Coughlan’s side as they face four games in ten days. With Wrexham, Forest Green Rovers, Crewe Alexandra and Sutton United to come, Palmer-Houlden believes this period is a good opportunity for County to build some momentum.
“I love the games coming up, it’s the best part of being a footballer,” he added.
“I can’t wait for the games ahead and it’s a good chance for us to build some momentum. I think the Wrexham game can be almost seen as a make-or-break game. If you win it, it makes everyone’s Christmas but if you lose it, it’s the opposite. I think there’s obviously a lot of talk and pressure around the game but it’s something that I thrive off.
“Some players like the pressured games, some players don’t, but I’m one of those that thrive off big atmospheres and it’s something that gives me intrinsic motivation."
County fans have travelled far and wide all season supporting Coughlan's men, with the forward particularly looking forward to playing in front of a sold-out away end in North Wales.
He finished: “It could be a brilliant occasion. The Newport fans have sold out the away end which will bring a good atmosphere, and in all fairness, since I’ve been at Newport the fans have been brilliant with me and I can’t thank them enough.
"I can’t wait to play in the fixture and hopefully we can get a good result which would lead us nicely into Forest Green on Boxing Day.”