NEWPORT County AFC have brought in a raft of young players aiming to make their mark in the Football League this summer, but one of last year’s intake is ready to go again after a rapid rise was followed by a cruel injury blow.

The Exiles taste action for the first time this pre-season on Saturday when they take on Undy AFC at the Causeway, where Josh Seberry first took to the field for the club.

On that occasion, the Irish defender was 'Trialist A' and slotted into defence with James Clarke along with 'Trialist B'.

The pair continued throughout much of the July games but while Jacob Mensah would go on to sign for Dover in National League South, Seberry earned a shot at the EFL.

Then manager Graham Coughlan took a punt on his young compatriot, a talented all-round sportsman, and it paid off.

Seberry was initially signed as a project player, one to be nurtured, but instead the then teenager from Monasterboice was in the thick of it from the off.

START: Josh Seberry made his County debut against CharltonSTART: Josh Seberry made his County debut against Charlton (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

The central defender, who is comfortable as a physical right-back, was an unused substitute at Accrington on opening afternoon in League Two and just days later was handed a start in the Carabao Cup upset of League One Charlton.

County’s injury misfortune at the back, with Clarke, Kyle Jameson, Matt Baker and Declan Drysdale all having spells out, led to Seberry featuring in every matchday squad in the first three months of the season.

Then came a horrible night in Nottingham on his 12th appearance.

Seberry caught his foot in the Meadow Lane turf while sliding to make an interception against Notts County and broke his right fibula, an incident that led to him being treated on the pitch for seven minutes and getting gas.

He started the long road to recovery and was frustratingly close to a return just as the League Two season ended, instead it’s Cheltenham on August 10 that he will target after friendly action.

“It’s been amazing to be back,” said Seberry, who turned 20 this summer. “To be back fully training again without any hesitation has been great.

“Coming into the summer it was tough because I couldn’t get back before the end of the season.

“The recovery to being back fit hasn’t been easy. After suffering the injury in October I was out for a big chunk of the season.

“I was just trying to rush myself back as quick as possible. Some days were good days, and some days were bad days. Thankfully, I’m over that now and can enjoy this season.”

BLOW: Josh Seberry was given gas when stretchered off at Meadow LaneBLOW: Josh Seberry was given gas when stretchered off at Meadow Lane (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

Seberry also enjoyed a summer destination that not many footballers enjoy while resting up before pre-season – Burton rather than Barbardos.

“Recovery-wise I did lot of stints at St George’s Park over the summer. It allowed me to get the ankle back into shape and it feels like it’s all paying off now,” he said, profiting from the English FA's base.

“My ankle has been fine so far. I’ve trained for a few days now and everything seems to be going positively. I’m just over the moon that I can enjoy my football again.”

Seberry’s education will be different this summer after the departure of three fellow Irishmen with boss Coughlan and his right-hand man Joe Dunne, both defenders in their playing days, heading for the exit along with captain and centre-back Ryan Delaney.

Nelson Jardim has joined as lead coach ahead of the arrival of a new boss while some off-field changes have been made while owner Huw Jenkins led a recruitment drive that has so far seen eight players arrive.

CHANCE: Josh Seberry impressed for County at the start of last seasonCHANCE: Josh Seberry impressed for County at the start of last season (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“It’s been a big transition with a lot of new players coming in, and a lot of players going out, but everyone has seemed to have gelled really well,” said Seberry.

“There’s been significant improvements around the club and it seems to be a brand-new philosophy being implemented ahead of the new season.”

There are now just four weeks until the big kick-off at Whaddon Road and Seberry – who has more Football League experience than five of the eight new signings – is desperate to earn a spot in the new-look line-up.

“It’s a chance to really shine now and show everyone my full potential,” said the Irishman.

“With the new squad and the backroom staff in place, it’s a good place to be. My intentions are to get into the starting 11 each week.

“I think that’s up for grabs for everyone here if they put it in over pre-season. Looking at the squad, not one person is a weak link. They are all top, top players who will add a lot to club this season.”