PADRAIG Amond has welcomed the competition for his title as Newport County AFC's goal king after fellow forward Tristan Abrahams' public declaration of his hunt for the golden boot.

The Irish striker has scored 51 times in 159 appearances for the Exiles since arriving from Hartlepool in 2017.

His exploits have earned three successive golden boots for the club with tallies of 15, 23 and then 13 in the curtailed 2019/20 campaign.

Amond edged out Abrahams last year and after a double against Swansea, the pretender to the throne said he was targeting 20 strikes this season, as well as the spot at the top of the County goal chart.

The experienced striker loves to hear such a declaration of intent from a teammate.

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"It's brilliant," said the 32-year-old. "I've won it for the last three years and have no intentions of giving it up.

"Tristan has had a great start to the season and did really well against Swansea, then Scunthorpe and Cambridge. He is playing well so that's great. He can come at it… but I've got no intention of giving it up!"

Amond is just two back on the early leader despite Abrahams appearing to have a third in the 1-1 draw at Scunthorpe last weekend.

The forward celebrated in the League Two opener at Glanford Park after not seeing his backheel flick go in off strike partner Ryan Taylor.

Amond said: "I was warming up and was trying to shout at Trist, 'Don't celebrate, please don't celebrate because it's not your goal!

"You can see our togetherness in the laughing and the joking, they are arguing over whose goal it is and that's a great thing to have.

"The competition is there for everyone and it's important we don't take our foot off the gas anywhere on the pitch."

That competition has led to Amond having to settle for a role off the bench against the Swans, starts against Cheltenham and Cambridge and frustratingly being unused in Scunthorpe.

Manager Michael Flynn has used Amond, Abrahams, Taylor and on-loan Saikou Janneh up front so far and has also signed veteran forward Kevin Ellison.

With a hectic schedule in 2019/20, battles for spots in the XI will dictate the success of County's campaign after an encouraging first four fixtures.

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"It's been a very good start but we have done this before and it's now just a case of making sure we are all bang at it every day in training to make sure we are ready for the next game because, this season more than ever, they come thick and fast," said Amond.

"There are going to be times when we are Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday. We are going to get injuries and we are going to have tough periods but the important thing this season is that we have the squad at the minute that can cope with that.

"We probably haven't had that in previous seasons and the year we got to the play-offs we were reliant on a core group of players with five or six playing 60 games.

"Last year we were down to the bare bones at times whereas now we could get a couple of injuries and still look strong. We can switch the XI around and still look capable of winning any game in League Two."

"You are itching to get on. First of all you are disappointed that you are not starting and then you are itching to get on because you know that you can make a difference," he continued.

"But it’s about waiting and then taking your chance to give the manager a selection headache, and hopefully I’ve done that."

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Nonetheless, the forwards are under pressure to start converting their chances after Flynn's minor grumble about a lack of a killer instinct to go with the encouraging approach play.

Against Cambridge the Exiles were credited with 71 per cent possession, had 13 corners and racked up 29 shots.

The hope is that more opportunities will be taken against Barrow on Saturday.

"You want to finish every chance, on another day we would have scored five or six, but it's about creating those chances and if we weren't then it would be a bigger issue," said Amond.

"That will come and we've got strong competition at the moment, which is really good because it's going to be a long hard season."