NEWPORT County new boy Jake Thomson has sent out a warning to the rest of the Blue Square Bet Premier, insisting the Exiles are not scared of anyone in the division.
Thomson and teammates kick off their Conference campaign with a daunting trip to promotion favourites Mansfield Town on August 11.
County were beaten 5-0 at Field Mill last season but the midfield ace says the Stags could be in for a shock this time round.
“We shouldn’t be scared of anyone,” said Thomson. “We’ve got to play them. It’s 11 versus 11 and we want to get into the position where teams are worrying about what we’re going to do rather than the other way round.
“Mansfield is nothing to be scared of. Players in this dressing room have played at places like Sheffield Wednesday so Mansfield shouldn’t scare anyone.”
The 23-year-old former Southampton player is a full international with Trinidad & Tobago and he’s been impressed with what he has seen since joining County from Forest Green Rovers last month.
“It’s a completely different team from the one I played against last year, though I do remember Pipey trying to kick me,” he added.
“I’m glad I’m on his side now but the ball’s gone up a couple of times in training and I’ve had to back off because I’ve seen him coming!
“We’re starting to play how I like to play – getting the ball down and passing it. Obviously it’s a transition because last year the pitch at Spytty Park they had to go long ball but we’re changing that.”
Thomson is full of praise for manager Justin Edinburgh and his new teammates and believes the team will improve on last season’s 19th-place finish.
“It’s such a tight knit group. I’ve had a great welcome here and it’s a fun place to be around,” he said.
“It’s a new team and it seems like everyone is starting from a clean slate. The management is great and it’s one of the best team spirits I’ve known.
“We don’t want to be anywhere near what happened last year and I don’t think we will be but we won’t be setting ourselves any silly targets. We’ll be taking one game at a time and making sure we get off to a good start.”
l Entry for the home friendly against Merthyr Town on Friday, July 27, at Rodney Parade will be £6 for adults and free for under-16s.
l The August Bank Holiday home fixture against Hereford United has been rearranged from Monday, August 27, to Tuesday, August 28 (kick-off 7.45pm), at the request of Gwent Police.
And the away fixture at Wrexham on Saturday, September 1, will now kick off at 1pm on the advice of North Wales Police.