MICKEY Demetriou says Newport County AFC want to improve on last season, with the League Two play-offs the “minimal target” for the 2018-2019 campaign.

The defender is about to begin his third season at the club and after playing a huge part in the Great Escape from relegation in 2016-2017 it’s been an upward trajectory since then.

County reached the fourth round of the FA Cup last season and finished 11th in the table as their promotion push hit the buffers in the second half of the campaign.

This year Demetriou and teammates are determined to sustain a challenge for the top seven, or even the top three and with it automatic promotion.

The 28-year-old centre-back told the club website: “We have to improve on what we did last season.

“There was obviously disappointment in how it ended last year – not getting in the play-offs – but it was a good season for the club all round I think.

“Off the back of the year before, anything would have been better obviously and for us to finish in the top half of the table was good.

“We’ve just got to improve – we’ve built on the squad and improved upon it; a few people have left as well, which is obviously a shame when friends go but that’s football at the end of the day.

“The gaffer has brought in replacements already which is good and hopefully come August 4, we’ll be ready to go.”

The big kick-off in League Two is at Mansfield Town on August 4 and Demetriou is hoping the Exiles can hit the ground running.

“Everyone wants to get promoted obviously,” he added. “There’s no point playing if you don’t want to achieve something like that.

“We’ve got a good enough squad to finish in the automatic places but who knows? We had a good enough squad last year as well and we just fell away at the last moment.

“It’s a case of just being a little bit more consistent this year and hopefully we can finish at least in the play-offs.

“I think that’s the minimal target and anything above that would obviously be even better.”

South Wales Argus:

Manager Michael Flynn has so far brought in defenders Fraser Franks and Tyler Forbes, midfielders Charlie Cooper and Andrew Crofts and (pictured above with Demetriou and Spytty the Dog) winger Keanu Marsh-Brown and striker Jamille Matt.

All six have won promotion before and Demetrio also knows what it takes to go up after helping Shrewsbury Town to step up to League One in 2015.

“When you get promoted, you have to be used to winning games so that’s a big mentality to have,” he said.

“All the new faces have had a winning mentality in whatever league they have got promoted from and they’ve all settled in really well during the first few days of pre-season.

“They all get on well with last season’s squad and hopefully we can just go again next season.”