Although Saturday’s result at Crawley wasn’t exactly what Newport County had hoped for, there was at least one major positive from the trip to Broadfield Stadium - the return of Declan Drysdale.
The defender made his first appearance for the Exiles after four long months on the sidelines with injury after coming on as an 83rd minute substitute.
It ended a frustrating period for both Drysdale and manager Graham Coughlan who has always regarded the defender as a big influence on the pitch and the dressing room.
“It’s been a tough couple of months watching on,’’ admitted Drysdale. “But to finally get back out there was a fantastic feeling, despite the result.
“For me it was a box ticked. Now I can hopefully keep building up my minutes, get back up to speed and fully into the swing of things.”
It’s never easy for any player facing a lengthy spell on the treatment table, especially maintaining motivation levels during rehabilitation, but Coughlan has always praised Drysdale’s positive attitude in the face of adversity as one of his great characteristics.
“Injuries are never a nice feeling,” added Drysdale. “And you can go one of two ways. You can feel sorry for yourself or use it as an opportunity to better yourself and reflect. For me, feeling sorry for myself was never an option.
“I obviously had a tough end to last season with the two injuries, but that probably helped me and motivated me more. This time I’ve worked harder than ever, and my motivation was always to get back stronger and fitter.”
Drysdale’s long road to recovery was made easier with some familiar faces returning to the Exiles in the summer window in fellow defenders Matt Baker and Adam Lewis.
“We had a great group of lads last year,’’ added Drysdale. “Yes, it was hard losing some big personalities around the place, but fair play to all the new boys they’ve come and settled in incredibly well.
“This season it’s another great dressing room to be a part of. I think that’s probably why Adam (Lewis) and Matt (Baker) decided to come back, because of how good it was off the pitch last season. Also, I didn’t leave Adam alone all summer!”
With his return from injury ticked off, Drysdale is now determined to help the squad put the Crawley result behind them when Barrow visit Rodney Parade on Saturday (3pm).
“The main objectives this week are to address where things went wrong on Saturday; move on quickly and put them right against Barrow,” he added.
“I think we have become good at doing just that over the last 12 months, so I am hopeful we can and will do that again on Saturday.”
Tickets for Saturday’s League Two clash with Barrow Town at Rodney Parade are available here