With Newport County AFC out of action after EFL fixtures were suspended until at least April 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’re dipping into the Argus archives to relive the club’s miraculous Great Escape from relegation three years on. Follow the action day-by-day as Michael Flynn’s men battle to beat the drop against all the odds…

First published on Friday, March 24, 2017

SEAN Rigg believes Newport County AFC are playing with a sense of freedom because most people have already consigned them to relegation.

County were 11 points from safety at the bottom of League Two when manager Graham Westley was sacked earlier this month.

But they are now up to 23rd, just six points behind 22nd-placed Cheltenham Town, after winning seven points from a possible 12 under caretaker boss Michael Flynn.

And Rigg, whose superb free-kick earned County a point against promotion-chasing Luton Town on Tuesday, says their improved form is because the players feel the pressure if off.

Ahead of tomorrow’s trip to third-placed Portsmouth, Rigg said: “I think we’ve definitely picked up in the last few games and I don’t see why we can’t go there and give them a good game.

“Anyone can beat anyone in this league so we go there confident and we’ll see what we can do.”

On the Exiles’ survival hopes with eight games left to play, the midfielder added: “It’s possible, very possible if we go on a nice little run now.

“It’s doable and the teams above us are under more pressure than us really because we’ve been written off.

“We’re going into games with no pressure. We just want to enjoy ourselves.

“Teams like Cheltenham and Hartlepool have got more to lose than us and they’re going to panic.

“One team always does seem to slip up at the end so we’ll just keep going into every game playing with freedom and enjoying it and hopefully pick up the three points.”

South Wales Argus:

Rigg backed up teammate Mark Randall’s assertion that training was too intense under Westley and he says the board made the right decision to change the manager.

“Graham was chopping and changing it quite a bit,” said the 28-year-old. “He obviously brought the new players in. He had to try and that didn’t work.

“Every manager is different. At the start of the season under [Warren] Feeney we didn’t have a great start.

“When Graham came in he completely changed it. He put some fitness into our legs, which he thought we needed, and I think it helped to start with.

“But after a while I think maybe the boys tired a bit mentally and physically and I think maybe it was time for a change.

“Any club eases off towards the end of the season. You’ve got your fitness in and the games in so training doesn’t need to be so intense.

“And I think that’s going to help us a lot over the next eight games.

“We need to really look after ourselves and make sure we’re ready to go in every single game.”

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