HEREFORD v COUNTY (Tomorrow, KO 12.30)
GOAL hero Ryan Charles believes an unbreakable team spirit will see Newport County AFC return to the Football League in 2013.
Charles came off the bench to seal a vital three points at promotion rivals Forest Green Rovers with a Christmas cracker of a strike on Boxing Day.
The win saw County remain in second place in the Blue Square Bet Premier, just a point behind leaders Grimsby Town with a game in hand.
Justin Edinburgh’s men make the short trip to old rivals Hereford United tomorrow as they bid to return to the summit but Charles says the Exiles are not getting the respect they deserve.
“I see on the Blue Square website that we’re still a low percentage to go up. When are people going to start realizing that we’re here to stay?” he said.
Charles admits that he hasn’t contributed as much as he would have liked to a remarkable year for the club but he hopes that will change after his amazing winning goal at The New Lawn.
“That was definitely my best moment in a County shirt,” he said.
“Obviously it’s been very stop-start for me since I’ve been here.
“Last year was a relegation battle and I was cup-tied so I missed out on Wembley, and this year I’ve been out of the team because the lads who are starting have been doing really well.
“I haven’t really shown everybody what I can do and hopefully that shows people that there’s more to come from me if I do get the minutes.
“I’m realistic and I know the team has been doing really well and when the strikers are scoring you can’t really complain.
“I’m happy to be a part of a great club and I want to help get Newport County back in the Football League.”
Charles’ goal and the equalizer from fellow sub Ben Swallow proved the strength of the squad.
“It’s not just about the team it’s about the squad and we’ve got such a strong bench with people like Ben Swallow, Byron Anthony and Lee Minshull,” said the striker.
“The team spirit is special and that showed when I scored and everyone was so pleased for me.
“We’re like a family here and that is our great strength.”
County are now focused on what will be another big test against the Bulls, who will be looking for revenge after their 2-1 defeat in Newport in August.
There should be a repeat of the derby atmosphere from that game with a large number of fans expected to travel to Edgar Street and the Amber Army could match the 1,029 who were singing in the rain at Forest Green.
“The fans really make a big difference,” said Charles. “It really pushes you on and inspires you when over a thousand travel to an away game and hopefully it’ll be the same on Saturday.
“We got the win and now we will forget about that and move on to the next game.
“Hereford will be another big game and hopefully I can get on and score again and help us get another three points.”
l Tomorrow’s match at Hereford is all ticket for County supporters. There will be no admission for away supporters without a ticket. Tickets can be purchased today from the club office at Rodney Parade.