THAT Aaron Wildig has dropped down to League Two is still a sore point for the Newport County AFC supporters that will cheer him on this season.

The 30-year-old is poised for his Exiles debut at Sutton this afternoon after making the switch from Morecambe.

Wildig turned down a deal with the Shrimps in favour of one at County, a move that has allowed a return to his native Hereford with his partner and young son.

The midfielder spent seven years in Lancashire and made 248 appearances for the club but opted for a fresh challenge.

That led to him walking through the door in Newport to be greeted by several new teammates scarred by a painful loss to Morecambe.

Wildig & Co headed up to League One thanks to their play-off final win over Michael Flynn’s side in 2021, aided by a pair of shocking decisions by referee Bobby Madley.

Scot Bennett was clobbered in the head by goalkeeper Kyle Letheren – no penalty. In extra time Ryan Haynes was adjudged to have fouled John O’Sullivan, with replays showing contact outside the box before a theatrical fall – penalty.

Morecambe scored, went up and stayed up.

South Wales Argus: CONTROVERSIAL: Bobby Madley angered County at WembleyCONTROVERSIAL: Bobby Madley angered County at Wembley

Wildig said: “As soon as I saw the highlights a few days after I knew that both decisions were a bit dodgy to say the least!”

Let’s try to leave that in the past as the new boy attempts to add another promotion to his CV.

Wildig is set to be a key figure in midfield as County look to replace influential loanees Finn Azaz and Ollie Cooper.

“Once you sign for a new club it can be difficult and it might take a bit of time but hopefully I can affect the place and bring a bit of experience to the squad in the right places,” said Wildig, who scored against County in the FA Cup last season.

“If the gaffer plays me in an advanced role then I'd like to add goals – last time I played in League Two I got nine.

“I've got to target getting goals and assists. I'm a diff player to those two [Azaz and Cooper] and bring something better in certain situations, while they might be stronger in others.

“I've just got to try and affect the team, knitting things together and chipping in with goals and assists.”

South Wales Argus:

Wilding certainly looks a shrewd signing with County profiting from decisions by the former boss at Morecambe, who stayed up when Derek Adams returned to spearhead a late surge.

“In all honesty there were times under the previous manager at Morecambe, Stephen Robinson, when I just thought it was a little bit unfair,” said the midfielder.

“For example, I came on at 3-0 down at half-time in a game against Doncaster at home and we won 4-3. We played Tottenham away in the FA Cup the following Saturday and I didn't start.

“I was thinking 'hold on, we won 4-0 in the second half when I was on the pitch and I still can't get a start'.

“I felt the writing was on the wall so we put the house on the market and me and my partner looked to move closer to home after having a little one in lockdown.

“As the summer came it was a more difficult decision with Derek Adams giving me the armband and having done well for him in previous years but signing for Newport was a perfect match in the end.”

County felt robbed by Morecambe in 2021 but will hope to be among the contenders for the four promotion spots in what is set to be another extremely tight campaign.

“It's always hard to say before the start of the season, you never know who will be the strong teams and those that won't do well,” said Wildig.

“Having had a lot of years in League Two it's about being consistent and staying in the pack, because there is always a pack of about 15 clubs that can put a run together to get in the promotion spots.

“As a squad, that is something that we have to be pushing for.”