PADRAIG Amond is convinced he can improve on the best season of his career and better last year’s tally of 23 goals as he aims to fire Newport County AFC to promotion.

Amond was voted County player of the year by our readers and won a hat-trick of prizes at the South Wales Argus Sports Awards 2019 as he inspired the Exiles to the League Two play-off final.

But defeat at Wembley in May meant an extraordinary campaign, which also saw him called into the Republic of Ireland squad, didn’t have a fairy tale ending and Amond is determined to put that right over the next nine months, starting with Saturday’s league opener at home to Mansfield Town.

“I think last season was the best of my career,” said the 31-year-old striker, who once scored 37 goals for Grimsby Town in a National League campaign.

“It started off really well and with the cup run and everything else it gained momentum from there.

“The last seven or eight weeks of the season were some of the most enjoyable times I’ve spent in football.

“We knew it was something special building and it’s just unfortunate that we fell that little bit short at the end.

“It would have been brilliant to top it off with promotion at Wembley, but that’s gone now and it’s just a case of trying to push on for the new season and trying to go one step further.

“Since the gaffer took over, we’ve improved in every season and that’s what we want to do again this year.”

South Wales Argus:

And Amond is certain that he can score more than 23 goals this time out.

“I can better that, I could have got more last season,” he said.

“I feel like I’m getting better as my career is going on.”

Speaking about his awards for last season’s exploits, he said: “I’m obviously delighted. It’s very special when you win a player of the year award, especially when it’s a good season for the team.

“There were so many players in the squad that could have won it and you’re only as good as the players around you.

“I wouldn’t have been able to score the goals that I scored last year without every one of those players.

“There were some great deliveries from wide areas from the likes of Robbie Willmott and Dan Butler and from Matty Dolan’s set-pieces.

“When you’re playing in a good team, it’s always an honour but we obviously fell that little bit short last year and I would swap all the awards to have won the play-offs.”

South Wales Argus:

Amond got over his Wembley blues by marrying fiancée Caoimhe back home in Ireland in early June.

“It was the best day of my life,” he said. “I don’t want to do it all over again because I don’t want to get married again, but it was just such a good day that you want a day like that every day of your life.

“It was a brilliant day and it was really good to have that on the back of Wembley.

“I never really had a chance to be disappointed because I was straight into the wedding and the honeymoon.

“It was really good, but I’m ready to hit the ground running again this season and score as many goals as possible and help the club finish as high as we can.”

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