DEFENDER Kevin Feely says he’s relishing the battle of helping Newport County AFC climb the League Two table, writes Andrew Penman.
The Irish under-21 international has impressed since his arrival at Rodney Parade last week on loan from Championship outfit Charlton Athletic.
Feely has earned rave reviews for the way he’s coped with the physical threat of Torquay’s Enoch Showunmi in last Saturday’s 1-0 win at Plainmoor and Bury’s Clive Platt in Tuesday’s 0-0 draw at home.
But Feely says Wales international Darcy Blake, who arrived at the club at the same time, has to take a lot of the credit and he’s looking forward to continuing their partnership against Portsmouth today.
“Last week was very hectic,” said Feely. “I was in at midnight on Thursday night, straight into training and then the game on Saturday.
“Darcy, with the experience that he’s got, helped me a lot through that first game.
“He’s only 25 but he’s done a massive amount in the game so he’s someone to look up to as a centre half.
“During games he’s giving me a little bit of know-how because I’ve never played in League Two and I’m dealing with a lot of different things than I would at under-21 level.
“So it’s been really helpful for me to have someone of Darcy’s experience there. It makes it an awful lot easier than it would have been without him there.
“Thankfully it went reasonably well,” he added. “We got a clean sheet and a win and another clean sheet on Tuesday so I’m happy with how the first week has gone.
“I had two big guys to deal with but I’m probably happier dealing with guys like that than little nippy ones who are going to be darting around your feet.
“It was tough but it’s something I embraced and I enjoy battling it out with a striker through a match.”
Feely’s emergency loan deal will keep him at County until the end of the season and he’s anticipating a good finish to the campaign.
“Hopefully I keep learning over the next five or six weeks and continue to improve,” he said.
“I’m hoping to get as many games in as possible and if I can keep my place in the team the better it is for me and hopefully I can help the team end the season well.
“Without doubt there’s a lot of quality in this team. They went through a bad patch but against Torquay we battled it out, made sure we were solid defensively and we had a bit of quality from Zeb to get us a goal.
“On Tuesday we played a bit more football and you could see the confidence building in the team so we’re aiming to climb that table now.”