NEWPORT County captain David Pipe is excited about the prospect of returning to his former side Bristol Rovers today and fully focused on earning a valuable three points.
Pipe spent three years at Rovers from 2007 to 2010, a spell that ended abruptly when he was sentenced to a jail term for a late night altercation in the centre of Bristol.
After his release from prison Pipe joined Newport and captained the side to promotion back to the Football League. Today’s game marks his first return to the Memorial Stadium.
“I can’t wait to go back there,” Pipe told the Argus. "It’s the first time back since obviously what happened to me. My misdemeanour was off the pitch as everybody knows as it was well publicised but when you associated my name with Bristol that’s what comes up.
“I’m going there to play football and no other reason. I’ve got a lot of friends still there that will be wearing blue and white shirts in the crowd and also on the pitch. I’ve still got a lot of admiration for the club but I’m going there to win."
County are aiming to do the double over their near neighbours and have sold out their allocation of more than 1,200 tickets this week. Pipe is relishing the atmosphere the fans will create.
“The bigger the atmosphere, the better for me," said the skipper.
"When you are playing away and you can hear your own fans out sing the home fans, like our fans have done occasions, then there is nothing better and gives you a boost if you aren’t already up for the game as much as you should be.
“They are the closest professional club to us in the league. Obviously you throw in the England v Wales element and add on a personal level if you play for both clubs but at the end of the day though you don’t get six points out of the game, you get three.
"It’s as important as any other game so we will go there with the same mind-set and hopefully come away with three points."
Pipe admits that this season’s postponements have been frustrating, but the return of County's long-term injury absentees will have a positive impact on the squad.
“It’s one of my worst gripes as a player, because you obviously prepare yourself to the best of your ability and with the weather its usually last minute,” he said. “You got to keep yourself tuned right up until the decision is made in that kind of situation. We are all dying to play.
“It’s a big plus to have players coming back," he added. "I’ve been at a few clubs and this is the most injuries I have seen, as they are not niggles here and there, they’ve been a few months or even longer."