NEWPORT County boss Justin Edinburgh has announced Andy Sandell as his new captain and is hoping for improved team spirit this season with the club establishing a permanent training base, writes Michael Pearlman.
The Exiles will train at Llanwern School but will be based at their former home of Spytty Park at Bar Amber, now transformed into a facility where the players can eat, relax, train, receive medical attention and have team meetings, all as a group.
Last season the Exiles were based at Cardiff’s University Playing Fields and Edinburgh believes that had a particularly unsettling impact on the squad when they embarked on a poor run of form after Christmas.
Edinburgh explained: “It didn’t help last year, not just being outside the city, but the fact we were cut-off a bit,” he said.
“The players would drive in, training finished and they’d be off, we had little splits in the group and you start to get certain cliques within the group.
“This brings us all together. We eat together, we train together, everyone has lunch together, we will have players doing all their rehab together; we haven’t got a player we have to send to do rehab in a gym on his own, which in turn makes him feel isolated.
“Those injured players last season lost contact with the rest of the squad and it’s not about the individual, it’s about the team.”
Edinburgh also explained his reasoning behind appointing Andy Sandell as club captain, believing the left back, popular with players and supporters alike; will thrive with extra responsibility. He replaces David Pipe, who joined Forest Green Rovers over the summer.
“We are happy to announce Andy Sandell as club captain, I probably had four or five candidates, but as I told the group, I want everyone to take responsibility and act like a captain,” he said.
“But I think Andy in particular needed that extra bit of responsibility, he’s a class player, someone who is a seven-and-a-half out of ten in every game, but I hope wearing that armband will bring a little bit more out of him.
“So we’re thrilled to announce him as club captain.”