NEWPORT County AFC fans will see the real Rene Howe in the coming campaign, the striker has declared.

The 27-year-old is enjoying a fine pre-season and scored both goals as a substitute in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Gloucester City to take his tally to five in four friendlies.

The Exiles signed Howe in January after he was deemed surplus to requirements by Burton Albion and he hit the net three times in 15 appearances in League Two.

The target man admits he wasn’t at his best as County slid down the table in the second half of the campaign.

But with pre-season under his belt, Howe is looking lean and is aiming to spearhead County’s attack for the big kick-off against Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday, August 9.

“I’m going well, training hard and I am feeling a lot better this year,” he said. “I had a lot of things that I had to sort out when I arrived last season and there were illnesses in the family.

“The gaffer helped me out with time off here and there but I am ready to go this season; I’ve got no worries at the minute.

“It’s always hard when you come to a new club because the players already there expect to play in front of you.

“That’s what happened, and I accept that, but make no bones about it, this season I am ready to earn my starting place.

“When we came back the gaffer wrote the forwards down on a board and there were eight of us - everyone is fighting for a starting place and that’s good.

“Whoever does the business in pre-season gives themselves the best chance.”

Manager Justin Edinburgh has been impressed by the pre-season displays of Howe, who shared striking duties with last season's top scorer Chris Zebroski at Weston-super-Mare and Gloucester.

“Rene made a big difference when he came on against Gloucester and he took his goals very well,” said Edinburgh.

“He has been excellent throughout pre-season and has got himself in good shape.”