NEWPORT-BORN Christian Doidge is aiming to upset his friends and family again by adding to his tally of goals against Newport County AFC this weekend.

Doidge, who was brought up in Cwmbran but now lives in Newport, has scored on his last two visits to Rodney Parade with Dagenham & Redbridge in January 2016 and April 2015.

And he’s determined to grab another goal on Saturday to help current club Forest Green Rovers climb away from the League Two relegation zone.

“It’s going to be a tough game for us,” said the 25-year-old striker, who has netted 19 times for Rovers in their debut campaign in the Football League.

“They’ve obviously been doing really well this season but I’m going there to win and I usually score when I play at Rodney Parade so I’m looking forward to it.

“I do upset the County fans and they give me a bit of stick but it’s all good fun.

“I’m a local lad at the end of the day and Newport’s is one of the first results I look out for.

“I’m always at Rodney Parade watching their games when I get the chance.

“I’ve got a lot of good friends there like Labs [Joss Labadie] and a lot of my friends and family support Newport but on Saturday they’ll be supporting me, I hope!”

Doidge grew up supporting County and was a mascot at Spytty Park but he was on the books at Southampton and Bristol Rovers as a boy.

And, after spells with Cwmbran Celtic, Croesyceiliog, Barry Town and Carmarthen Town, it was Dagenham who gave him his first crack at professional football in the summer of 2014 – weeks after a brief trial with County.

“When I was at Carmarthen I had a two-day trial when Justin Edinburgh was in charge but it was the last two days of the season and it wasn’t really a trial, I just trained with them,” he explained.

“I didn’t get a call after that and I didn’t hear anything from Newport before I joined Dagenham that summer.”

The Exiles also made a late move to sign the striker in 2016 before he joined Rovers.

“I think by the time they made contact it was too late,” added Doidge.

“But I’ve got no regrets. I’ve had a great time at Forest Green, I’m scoring goals and that’s something I love doing.

“Obviously the league position is not the best at the moment but personally I’ve done everything I wanted to do.

“I’m on 19 goals and I’m just going to keep going and keep working hard and see where it takes me.”

South Wales Argus:

Doidge gives some of the credit for his prolific form to personal trainer Joe Perry (above, right), a former goalkeeper for County and son of ex-Cardiff City and Exiles defender Jason.

“I’ve known Joe for a while – we used to play against each other years ago and he’s fantastic at what he does,” said the striker.

“I think it’s the closest thing to a professional set-up that we’ve got over the summer and all the footballers that have worked with him have progressed well.

“It’s definitely helped me because I knew that from the first day of pre-season I was coming in flying.”

South Wales Argus:

Perry, based in Phoenix Business Park on Telford Street – less than a mile from Rodney Parade, has helped several footballers to give them an extra edge on the pitch.

“We work with members of the public as well as professional footballers like Christian, Lee Evans (below), Andrew Hughes and Alex Rodman (both above with Perry),” he said.

“The boys usually come in during the summer to get ready for pre-season.

“Football has changed a lot in recent years,” he added.

“Back when my dad was playing it was a case of getting fit during pre-season after enjoying the summer.

“But now you want to be fit and ready to go before pre-season."

South Wales Argus:

“Christian texted me the day after he scored at Wembley for Forest Green [in May 2017] to ask when he could come back in so that shows how good his attitude is.

“It’s hard work but if you look at the boys I’ve worked with they’re all doing really well and that shows that you get what you deserve.

“If we can give them that extra one or two per cent while others are chilling out then they will have the advantage.”

Exiles boss Michael Flynn will be hoping his side use home advantage to repeat last October's thumping 4-0 win at Forest Green to make Doidge suffer once more.

For more information about Perry's training sessions contact him via his Facebook page or on 07515 753970.