Conor Washington relishing the step up in class
FROM part-time postman to professional footballer, from living with mum and dad to a city flat on his own and from playing football for fun to making it his living, it’s been a whirlwind few months for Newport County striker Conor Washington.
The 21-year-old has been a peripheral figure at Rodney Parade since his October move from the Combined Counties League (division nine) and St Ives, making the odd substitute appearance here and there.
In terms of a step-up it’s like a Newport County player joining the first team squad at a Champions League-chasing Premier League side. But after a settling in period, Washington is confident he has improved markedly since joining football’s paid ranks, especially enjoying full run-outs in recent behind closed-door games with Bath and Swindon.
“I feel I’ve come on leaps and bounds since I came here, the games behind closed doors give me a chance to express myself and show what I can do,” he said.
“It’s a huge step-up, the pace of the game is vastly different to what I’m used to, everyone is a lot stronger and a lot quicker and it makes a big difference.
“I’ve had to adjust to the pace, the speed of thought and as a striker it’s especially hard when you’re not playing regular games.
“But I never underestimated the step-up, I didn’t expect to be a regular starter but I wouldn’t change a thing about my move to this club.”
Washington is even learning to embrace the serious lifestyle changes, which do have major positives in terms of a good night’s sleep.
“I’ve relished the independence to be honest, I’ve got a flat in Cardiff and I like living on my own and there is nothing better than getting to play football every day.
“I know the realities of working life, I wake up every day about five hours later than I used to as a postman and I know how lucky I am.
“Now I want to really kick-on and show my worth. We’ve got some great quality attacking players but when my chance comes I feel more and more ready to take it.”
l County welcome defender Ismail Yakubu back after illness forced him to miss last week’s win at Lincoln City.
But midfielder Max Porter hasn’t trained all week with a hamstring problem and Lee Minshull stands by to replace him.
The success of Aaron O’Connor, Christian Jolley and Robbie Willmott at Lincoln means Danny Crow may again need to be content with a place on the bench.