COUNTY assistant manager Jimmy Dack calls him ‘Superman’ and Justin Edinburgh believes his form is ‘miraculous,’ but Ismail Yakubu is confident the best is yet to come for him and Newport County AFC.
The former AFC Wimbledon defender has been there and done it at Conference level, having been promoted with the Dons before his move to County last year.
He played a key role in helping the Exiles to Wembley last season for the FA Trophy final and in keeping them from Conference relegation, but he’s been dogged by injury all summer.
As well as a long-standing knee issue that is constantly monitored, Yakubu also required wrist surgery that seemed certain to rule him out of the start of the campaign.
Yet despite only playing 20 minutes against Yeovil Town in pre-season, Yakubu has played every minute so far this season for County and has arguably been their best player.
It’s led to praise from his manager, but the ‘Yak’ is confident better is yet to come.
“I’ve been fortunate, I was lucky to get a slot for my wrist operation early in the summer and I had the go-ahead from the doctor two weeks ago to say I could play again, it was earlier than expected,” he said.
“The gaffer has made a big call in bringing me straight back into the side but so far I have hopefully justified that.
“I guess I am naturally quite lucky on my fitness, I’ve done some extra work over the summer and it has paid off.
“The squad now are ready for a good push, but it isn’t enough, you still need some fortune and luck and so far we’ve had it.
“We feel we can get better and I feel that about my own form too.”
Yakubu is relishing the competitive nature of the Exiles squad and is really impressed with Gary Warren’s replacement Tony James.
“In every position there is great competition and that keeps everyone on their toes,” he said.
“I’ve been lucky to be picked so far and hopefully I can remain injury free and play.
“Tony James is a player I’ve been really impressed by, a brilliant defender, he’s got a fantastic leap on him.
“He’s comfortable on the ball, he’s very composed and I think I can learn a lot from him. He just gets on with things, whatever the situation.”