MIDFIELDER Mark Randall has claimed he was the subject of unfair treatment from former Newport County AFC boss Graham Westley.
Speaking for the first time about his strained relationship with Westley, Randall insisted that he wants to be at Rodney Parade to help the Exiles stay in League Two.
Randall was frozen out of the County first-team squad by Westley in January after asking to be transfer-listed for personal reasons.
The 27-year-old wanted to be with his pregnant partner and son, who had moved back to Milton Keynes having failed to settle in South Wales.
According to Randall, he told Westley that if a move to a club closer to his family didn’t materialise he would still give “100 per cent” to County’s cause.
Earlier this month, Westley said Randall “doesn’t want to be part of the club” and that he didn’t “want someone around who doesn’t want to be a part of it”.
Giving his side of the story, Randall said: “My girlfriend and little boy weren’t too happy living away from home. We were about to have another baby so she wanted to move back home.
“I asked to be put on the transfer list but I did say that if nothing came about I would quite happily stay here and give 100 per cent to the club.
“I thought Graham Westley treated me quite unfairly in what he said to the Press.”
He added: “I’ve got to be careful with what I say. I think he has put things in the fans’ heads about me not wanting to be here.
“Maybe I’ll get a bit of stick from the fans, but I do want to be here.
“Sometimes you have to put family first, no matter what you do. Fortunately we’ve had another healthy little baby, so I’m happy to be back.”
County have won twice and lost once since Westley’s dismissal nearly two weeks ago, with Randall an unused substitute in the last two games.
While he is still lacking a bit of match sharpness himself, the former Arsenal man reckons the players are in a better position going into matches now than they were under Westley.
“I’m happy to be back and hopefully I can contribute to Newport staying up,” he said.
“We feel confident now that when we go out we’re going to put up a really good fight.
“We’ve actually got enough energy to run around on Saturdays, which I think we struggled with (under Westley).
“It just got ridiculous towards the end. We like to work hard but there was too much.
“For me, and I think I can speak for the other boys, you got to Saturday and you were absolutely shattered.
“I think it started to show on the pitch.”
He added: “I only came back (last) Monday but I’ve noticed a massive difference.
“Everyone seems a lot happier and there is a lot more energy around the boys.
“There’s a good vibe now and I think everyone is really happy.”