NEWPORT County striker Aaron O’Connor says it was the Rodney Parade factor that convinced him to sign for the club this week.

The 28-year-old has given up life at the top of the Conference with Luton Town to join County, who finished 19th last season.

But O’Connor is convinced the club’s new home will see them challenge the promotion favourites.

“Having played at Newport last year (at Spytty Park) my memories weren’t very good,” said the forward.

“It was windy, rainy and the pitch was a nightmare but coming to the new ground is completely different.

“Rodney Parade is a great stadium. That made things a little bit easier for me and will really help the team.

“There’s going to be a few surprise teams in the league next season and hopefully we can be one of them,” he added.

“Wrexham, Luton, Mansfield and Forest Green will be up there but hopefully we can go about our business quietly up until Christmas and take it from there.

“From speaking to the manager and the rest of the players I sense that there is a confidence around the place that we can do well.

“If we show the fans that we believe then they will get behind us at the new ground and that will help us push on as well.”

O’Connor is linking up with manager Justin Edinburgh for a third time after spells at Grays Athletic and Rushden & Diamonds.

And the boss and the presence of former teammates in the squad was another reason why he decided to join the Exiles.

“I know quite a few of the lads,” he said. “I played with Max Porter and Ryan Charles at Rushden, Danny Crow at Luton and I’m from Nottingham so I know David Pipe from when he was at Notts County as well.

“The lads were calling me and texting me every half an hour to sign, probably on the Justin’s orders.

“They wouldn’t leave me alone and I’m fortunate to come here and play with people I know.

“I trained with the rest of the lads this week and they’re a really good bunch so it’s helped me settle in and get ready for the start of the season.”

Edinburgh said: “I think Aaron is a leader on and off the pitch and he’s a fantastic professional.

“He demands a lot of himself and others and I know what he’s capable of. His work rate is immense and he’s fantastic to have in the dressing room.

“He’s a great age and I think it’s fair to say I think he played his best football under me at Grays and Rushden so I’m delighted to be working with him again.”