THE Newport County AFC directors say they have landed their top target in Graham Westley – the man they believe will save the club from relegation and then aim for promotion.

Westley was officially unveiled as the club’s new manager this morning and Gavin Foxall and Malcolm Temple are confident that he can quickly lift the mood around Rodney Parade and lift the club off the bottom of the League Two table.

Having taken Stevenage from the Conference to League One with back-to-back promotions in 2010 and 2011, Westley has a track record of success at this level.

And, even though he was sacked by League One clubs Preston North End and Peterborough United, the County hierarchy believe they have the right man.

“Graham is a very impressive individual – his record speaks for itself,” said Gavin Foxall, chairman of the operations board.

“I think his passion will pay dividends for us as a club and he’s a very positive person.

“He wants the players to smile and I think if you’ve got that it lifts the mood.”

Malcolm Temple, chairman of the owners’ board, revealed that Westley was always the man that they wanted to replace Warren Feeney.

“Gavin and I spent a day exchanging emails about targets,” he said. “We had four and I think this was the one we really wanted.

“We headhunted him. He wasn’t an applicant. We went to him and it was quite apparent when we interviewed him that he was the outstanding candidate. He was head and shoulders above everyone else.”

Westley has made no secret of his desire to manage at a higher level once again and Foxall says he will be happy if the manager is a target for bigger clubs because of his success in Newport.

“We recognise that we are a League Two club and we want success here,” he added.

“We need to identify what that success is.

“Obviously our initial priority is to remain in this league, which we’re confident that Graham will achieve.

“But also we want to get into the play-offs, we want to get promoted and if we do that as a club with Graham at the helm then that’s going to put him in the shop window.

“If he leaves from a success perspective then the club has benefited accordingly. So there is a mutual benefit for both parties.

“We’re really pleased that he’s taken the opportunity and we’ll support him as much as possible in terms of getting us out of the position we’re in.”