Offrande Zanzala | “There’s high spirits in the changing room...”

Offrande Zanzala says he is ready to help bolster Newport County’s attacking ranks after making his presence felt immediately upon his recent return from injury.

After five substitute appearances, the forward started for the first time in over a year in last month’s trip to Harrogate Town. 

Zanzala netted a brace in Yorkshire as the Exiles won 4-1 thanks to additional goals from Will Evans and Seb Palmer Houlden. 

And the forward now wants a strong finish to the campaign after recovering from a serious injury.

“It’s been a long going time with injury but it’s been good to be back," began the 27-year-old. 

“It’s good to be back into the swing of things with games, training and just being back around the lads. And of course being part of winning games which is good like Tuesday. 

“We made Tuesday a bit more harder than we should have at times but it was good to come out with three points in the end. It was good to be back on the field again on Tuesday night and good to get an assist as well. 

“I feel like from Tuesday my sharpness has clicked. I feel like I’m back to myself, back in terms of my sharpness. In terms of what I’m doing in training, games, and my identity, I feel like it’s all there. 

“I feel confident within myself again now and I’m ready to attack the last few games of the season and just help the team. 

“It’s good to have competition in the squad because it keeps you on your toes and pushes you. It also keeps you sharp, focused and mentally ready. 

“When your chance comes in the team you’ve got to take it. It’s healthy competition in the squad with the likes of Bogle coming back, which adds another threat for the team. At the end of the day, we’re all on the right page and want to do well for the team.”

Zanzala suffered a severe knee injury which required surgery last season and since, has been working hard to return to full-fitness. 

Despite the lengthy break, he insisted that he had to be in the right mindset first before returning to full action earlier this year. 

“It’s important to be physical ready before returning to action,” added Zanzala. 

“You’ve got to do the right things such as the gm and being an explosive player like you say, I need to tick off certain elements of my rehab in the week.

“One of the biggest things returning from injury is still believing that I am still quick, that I am still sharp, and I am still explosive.

"It can go either way. Sometimes you can doubt yourself about going into a tackle, not being physical enough or that I’m going to adopt a different style of play. 

‘I believe in myself and the tools I’ve got and it’s about utilising them to the maximum in training and in games.” 

Next up for the Exiles is a trip to play-off chasers AFC Wimbledon in Sky Bet League Two - one of County’s third successive away games.

And after scoring on his visit to Plough Lane last season, Zanzala is hoping him and his side can come away with another vital victory in South London.

“It’s going to difficult. They’re a tough team,” he finished.

“They’re physical, they play a decent style of football and are very direct as well. When I played and scored there last season it was different team, I believe they’ve got a few different players now.

“We’ve got belief in our team. Winning on Tuesday helps that and we’ll take the game to them. They will, of course, look at our strengths and how they can stop us, but we’ll continue to fight for each other like we always do and hopefully pick-up another three points like Tuesday.

“We’re on a good run of form and there’s high spirits in the changing room.”