NEWPORT’S Chris Gunter believes the bandwagon has only just started rolling for his hometown club.
The Exiles were beaten 3-1 by Championship Reading in the Capital One Cup with Royals skipper Gunter going up against Newport for the first time in his life.
The 25-year old has incredibly already played for his country 54 times and has featured for big clubs like Tottenham Hotspur and Nottingham Forest, but he admits facing Justin Edinburgh’s Amber Army was a unique experience.
And Gunter was so impressed with County, he believes they can continue the progress that saw them promoted twice in four seasons to finally return to the Football League after a 25-year hiatus, even tipping them as possible play-off contenders.
“It was special for me to play against Newport and in some ways, a strange experience,” he explained to Argus Sport following the cup tie.
“Newport is my city, I am born and bred there and my family all still live there, so in that respect playing County is the biggest personal link possible for me. But on the other hand, in terms of football, there is no link at all, when I was growing up in the city Newport County where nowhere near the level they are now.
“But it’s nice for me to get to play against them and seeing them being back in the Football League and doing well. As someone from the city, that makes me very happy and hopefully they can continue to do well.
“They had a good season last year, the expectation will be higher this season, but sometimes you can use that sort of momentum.
“From what I saw of them on Tuesday, there is no reason they couldn’t go on a good run and maybe reach the play-offs. I am sure the people in the city are craving more success, because the ball is rolling and the more success you have, the more people will want to come and support you.”
Gunter felt the Exiles gave Reading an extremely difficult game, especially considering they were the away side and huge underdogs, Reading boss Nigel Adkins picking his strongest available side.
“The most important thing was to get through, on paper it would appear any easier game for us, but they never quite work out like that and the main thing is we are through and have got our home season off to a good start,” he explained.
“Newport gave us a bit of a scare and you only have to look at the results from Tuesday, it’s tough to beat lower league sides that have nothing to lose, we found that out last season at Peterborough.
“Newport had nothing to lose away from home and it was a real battle at times, every throw-in, every set-piece they put us under pressure and I thought we stood up well to it.”
BLOB For Gunter’s thoughts on Wales’ Euro 2016 qualifying campaign which gets underway next month, see Friday’s Argus Sport.