MANSFIELD V COUNTY (Saturday, KO 3pm)
STRIKER Jefferson Louis has had more clubs than Ian Woosnam and Colin Montgomerie combined but insists that’s because only one man can get the best out of him – Justin Edinburgh.
The well-travelled forward, aged 33, has, including loans, trotted up an astonishing 29 clubs in a 14-year career.
However, the talented target man believes his best form came at Nene Park for Rushden & Diamonds under Edinburgh.
The now defunct Rushden finished fourth in the Conference during that period with Ryan Charles, Aaron O’Connor and Max Porter also featuring prominently for a side that lost out to promoted Oxford United in the play-offs.
With the spanking new Nene Park stadium similarly grandiose as Rodney Parade and with manager Edinburgh now building his own squad, Louis insists he only had one club in mind to join this summer.
And having bagged four goals in pre-season, the forward is optimistic of a long and bright future as an Exile.
“The key for me is the manager, he’s the only manager who I would basically follow anywhere, he knows how to get the best out of me,” he said.
“At Rushden we were playing winning football and we were also playing with a style and attacking intent that I enjoyed.
“The gaffer wants to get back to that at Newport and as long as he is at the club I hope I can be a key player for him and really enjoy my football.”
Louis admits the friends reunited act with his former Rushden colleagues has made Rodney Parade feel like home already.
“The dressing room is fantastic, the boys in the squad are all good guys and of course there’s the few of us from Rushden who are already familiar with each other,” he said.
“We know what the manager wants and what he expects of us and we are confident we can deliver it.”
Louis is certain that the Exiles will be closer to the promotion race than they will be to the basement battle following on from last season’s 19th-place finish and believes they can get off to a good start against Mansfield Town, one of his many old clubs, on Saturday.
“There is no good reason, with the quality we have, why we can’t aim high and think ‘play-offs,’ he said.
“We are a good side with a great stadium and passionate supporters. All the pieces are there and we feel we can hit the ground running.”
Boss Edinburgh has been happy with his strikers’ level of performance over pre-season.
“Jefferson has done well, his movement has been good and he seems fit and confident,” he said.
“I know what a good player he can be – unplayable on his day – and I feel like I can get the best out of him. We have real competition in attack which is great for me.”