REGAN Poole is a man on a mission as he aims to help deliver the promotion that he and Newport County AFC missed out on four years ago.

The defender was just 16 when he made his County debut in September 2014 but he made 12 appearances under Justin Edinburgh and Jimmy Dack during the 2014-15 season.

The Exiles were riding high during Poole’s breakthrough campaign and climbed as high as third in League Two before Edinburgh departed for Gillingham.

But they won just four out of 18 games under caretaker boss Dack to slip from sixth in the table to a final position of ninth.

That remains the club’s best finish since returning to the Football League in 2013, but Poole is determined to make up for missing out on the play-offs back then by securing a top-seven spot this time round.

“Newport County AFC is a club close to my heart because they gave me the opportunity to get to where I am today,” said the 20-year-old, who moved to Manchester United in 2015 and is back at Rodney Parade on loan.

“Hopefully this is a year I can help them push on again and get to the play-offs – I really want to be a part of that.

“When I first broke into the County first-team during my first spell, we did very well under Justin Edinburgh and Jimmy Dack.

“We didn’t quite get to where we wanted, which was the play-offs, but hopefully this is the year that I can go out on a high with promotion.

“This club has the potential to get promoted and I wanted to be a part of that,” he added.

“Nothing would make me happier than seeing Newport County AFC get promoted – it would be great for the club and it’s something the supporters deserve.

“I really believe we’re going to have a good last push now and personally, I think we’ll reach the play-offs.”

South Wales Argus:

County are 12th in the table ahead of Saturday’s trip to eighth-placed Colchester United and are currently five points below seventh-placed Forest Green Rovers with a game in hand.

Poole has been an ever-present since his loan move from United in January, helping Michael Flynn’s men keep five clean sheets in his 11 appearances.

“I was pretty young the last time I played in League Two but it’s very similar,” he told the club’s official matchday programme.

“I played in a similar formation with the previous manager, Justin Edinburgh, so that helped the transition.

“I’ve missed playing in the Football League. I played in League One last year with Northampton Town but I have missed it and it’s good to be back.

“I’ve got quite a few league games under my belt now for my age and it is about getting as many games as possible.

“Every experience is a good experience and that’s why I came back here."

Poole was quick to praise his defensive colleagues at County.

“It’s helped having Mickey Demetriou, Fraser Franks and Mark O’Brien alongside me," he added.

“The three of them have been in the game a long time and they’re all great professionals.

“As a young player, it’s nice to play alongside experienced people.

“The three of them are really talkative on the pitch, they’re always organising, always switched on and that is something I’ve learned – you can never switch off because you always need to organise the people in-front of you.”

Asked about the impact of Exiles boss Flynn, who was academy manager when he first broke into the first team, Poole said: “He’s been integral during my career.

“He was the one who pushed me through to the first-team and got me where I am today. I can’t thank him enough.

“I love working with him, so coming back was an easy decision to make.

“I did have a few options – both in League Two and League One – but for me, the decision was always to come back to Newport.

“Hopefully I’m showing on the pitch that I made the right decision to return.”

Read more: Ade Azeez says players believe they can make the top seven

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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.