Tom Naylor happy to join forces with County
FOUR months ago he was cursing Newport County AFC, but now Tom Naylor couldn’t be happier to be back at Rodney Parade.
‘If you can’t beat them, join them’ is the old saying and Naylor is a firm believer in that philosophy.
The Derby County centre-back, who arrived at County on loan on Monday, played against the Exiles in his final three games on loan at Grimsby Town last season.
The 22-year-old, who can also play in midfield, was a key part of the Mariners Conference promotion challenge in 2012/13.
He was on the winning side in the final regular season match at Blundell Park as Exiles boss Justin Edinburgh rested several star names.
But in the play-off semis that followed he was left cursing County as Grimsby were beaten 1-0 in both legs and saw their promotion dream go up in smoke.
And, having been told by Derby manager Nigel Clough that he doesn’t have a future at Pride Park, Naylor has opted to join the side that ended his ambitions of playing in League Two with Grimsby.
“It’s funny how things work out,” said Naylor. “Obviously I played Newport three times at the end of last season so I know all about them! We won the first one but Newport came out on top in the play-offs.
“I was gutted at the time but now I’m happy to join Newport because they’re in the Football League.
“I had to get some first team football because the manager at Derby has told me I’m not in his plans.
“All I want to do is play football and Newport is a team that is going places.”
Naylor is settling in well in South Wales after leaving the Midlands over the weekend.
And, having played the full 90 minutes in Tuesday’s behind-closed-doors friendly against Cardiff City, he is looking forward to playing some part against Bristol Rovers on Saturday.
“It all happened very quickly,” he explained. “My agent texted me to say Newport were interested. I spoke to Justin on Thursday and I was very impressed and it was all done by the weekend.
“I travelled down on Sunday and I’m just looking forward to getting stuck in.
“I’m getting settled in quickly,” he added. “I’ve had two training session with the boys and the game against Cardiff so I’m feeling pretty good.
“I also played golf with David Pipe, Danny Crow, Adam Chapman and Harry Worley, which was a good way to get to know them. Chapman won, he’s pretty good to be fair!
“As for Saturday, I know there are a few injuries in defence so I’ll hopefully be involved against Bristol Rovers, which should be a great game.”