RISING star Joe Parker will get another chance to shine tomorrow as Newport County AFC take on his former club Gloucester City in Cinderford.
The 19-year-old scored a stunning solo goal on his Exiles debut at Cirencester Town last weekend and also featured from the bench in Tuesday’s win at Weston-super-Mare.
And Parker is expected to start against the club he starred for in 2013/2014 having remained with the Tigers on loan following his transfer to Rodney Parade last November.
It’s another chance for the talented teen to catch the eye of manager Justin Edinburgh as he tries to force his way into the first team squad for the League Two opener against Wycombe Wanderers on August 9.
“I’ve been training with the boys one day a week since November and I’ve enjoyed it,” said Parker.
“I know all the lads now so it was a nice way to break myself into the squad.
“My aim is obviously to be in and around the first team but I’m just going to work as hard as I can in pre-season and see where that leaves me.
“If I’ve got to go back out on loan to get some more experience I’m happy to do that.
“I’d rather be playing football so whatever route that takes me I’ll be happy with.”
Parker is competing with Aaron O’Connor, Chris Zebroski, Christian Jolley, Rene Howe, Shaun Jeffers and Danny Crow for up to three starting spots up front this season.
“There is really good competition here,” he added. “We’ve got some great players with a lot more experience than me and I’ve got to learn from them, keep working hard and try to force my way into the squad.”
A few more goals like the superb effort at Cirencester will do his chances no harm but the modest youngster says County fans shouldn’t expect such heroics against Football League defences.
“It just happened,” he said of the goal. “I wouldn’t say it was going to happen every time.
“I just try to do the right things in the right areas and it paid off. I managed to get through a few defenders and get the goal.
“I really enjoyed it. It was good to get 45 minutes and I’m feeling fit at the moment,” he added.
“Pre-season is going well and I’m just going to get my head down and work harder.”
And Parker will be pleased to see a friendly face in both dugouts tomorrow with Gloucester managed by former County boss and director of football Tim Harris.
“Tim has been good for me,” said the youngster. “Last year at Gloucester he was talking me through it and he gave me the chance to play first team football, which I needed for pre-season with Newport.”