MAN of the moment Ryan Burge is aiming to upset his friends and family when Newport County AFC host his hometown club Cheltenham Town on Saturday.
The 25-year-old scored with a superb free-kick to help the Exiles beat promotion rivals Oxford United at Rodney Parade on Tuesday night.
And he’s determined to make an impact against the club he supported as a boy as County look to continue hunting down a play-off place in League Two.
Burge was born in Cheltenham and used to watch the Robins – where his grandfather Rod is a long-serving board member – as a child.
He started out at under-nines level with Cheltenham YMCA before signing for West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham City and Coventry City.
He was given two-week trials by Ajax in Holland and Manchester United, and was close to joining Cheltenham in 2008 when he was offered a short-term deal by then boss Keith Downing.
That didn’t work out when Downing was replaced by Martin Allen but Burge still lives in Cheltenham and he’s looking forward to facing them on Saturday having missed the 0-0 draw at Whaddon Road in November due to injury.
“It’s an interesting one from a personal point of view because it’s my hometown club,” Burge said.
“That’s where I live and commute into training from so it’s a nice one for me.
"I have watched Cheltenham for as long as I can remember and I was there when they got promoted to the Conference at Burton Albion in 1997.”
Burge was delighted with the win against Oxford and happy with his own man of the match performance but he insists he can still get better.
“It was a massive win,” he said. “The fans are always great here. You can play at some places where you go 1-0 down and the fans will get on the team’s back and turn on them but our fans kept going and thankfully we rewarded them with the three points.
“It’s still early days but we outplayed a team like Oxford who should be going up so that shows what we can do.
“I’m delighted to be here and I just want to keep playing now and see what happens,” he added.
“I was out injured for a little bit so I’ve not got into top gear yet so there is more to come from me.”