RODNEY Parade will always be a special place for Ade Azeez and he’s aiming to make more magical memories there with Newport County AFC – starting today against Carlisle United.

The striker was just 19 when he scored the first professional goal at the famous old stadium, just four minutes after coming off the bench for Torquay United against County back in September 2013.

Five-and-a-half years later, Azeez is set to make his belated home debut for the Exiles this afternoon following his deadline day move from Cambridge United.

The 25-year-old’s progress has been hampered by a hamstring injury in recent weeks but he saw his first action at MK Dons last week and he’s raring to go.

“It’s been good so far,” said Azeez. “I’ve settled in nicely, but I was injured when I signed so I haven’t been able to get on the pitch as much as I would have liked.

“It’s never nice being injured so it’s been tough but I’ve been working hard and I feel strong.

“I’ve had a full week’s training now, my hammy is feeling good and hopefully I can get a few more minutes and hopefully get a win.

“It was great to make my debut and the support at MK Dons was great.

“Unfortunately the result wasn’t what we wanted and hopefully we can bounce back this week.”

South Wales Argus:

Azeez can’t wait to show the home fans what he can do at Rodney Parade this afternoon.

“I’ve played there a few times as an opponent and it’s a hostile environment to come to,” he said.

“I’m glad I’m on the right side this time and, if I get a goal, I’ll be cheered rather than getting some stick.

“I’ve had a few good results here and a few bad results here but I’ve always felt there’s a nice feel around the club, it’s a tight-knit community and the fans get right behind the boys.

“I actually scored my first professional goal at Rodney Parade on my debut when I was at Torquay,” he added.

“We lost the game so it was bittersweet, but you never forget your first professional goal.

“It was a nice moment and hopefully it can be a good omen and I can go on to score some more goals at Rodney Parade.”

Azeez has signed a deal to keep him at County until 2021 and he’s confident that the club can challenge for promotion this season.

“I’ve signed for the rest of this season and then two [more] years, so it’s nice to have that security,” he said.

“I just want to repay the faith and the trust that they’ve put in me, get out there and work hard for the team and get some goals.

“Hopefully we can push for promotion. That’s the aim – to get this club as high as we can.

“This league is so inconsistent sometimes with the results – anyone can beat anyone on their day.

“As long as we’re mathematically close to the play-offs we’re going to push.

“We’ve got the players and we’ve seen that this team can raise their game as they did in the FA Cup.

“There’s definitely a feel-good factor around the club still and we can use that.”

As part of the South Wales Argus Sports Awards 2019, you can vote for your Newport County AFC player of the year. Make your pick here

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