GOALKEEPER Tom King believes League Two rivals should start taking Newport County AFC seriously after an impressive start to the new season.

County, who gave Premier League West Ham United a few scares in the Carabao Cup in midweek, are up to fifth in the table ahead of today’s trip to third-placed Forest Green Rovers.

And, having already beaten second-placed Plymouth Argyle and sixth-placed Crewe Alexandra, King says the Exiles deserve to be considered as genuine promotion candidates.

“We haven’t really veered from our style of play; we’ve stuck with it and it’s paying dividends at the minute,” said King.

“I think teams know what we expect when we turn up.

“Plymouth and Crewe were flying but we just played our game.

“We kept them quiet for the first half an hour, grew into it and scored late goals.

“We are a bunch of lads who are very dedicated, we’re very hard working.

“And our fitness levels are so high that we always come strong in the last period of the game.

“Plymouth are being talked about as promotion favourites, but we kept them very quiet,” he added.

“We haven’t really been carved open by any team yet and that fills us with confidence.

“If people weren’t taking us seriously at the start, I think they should be now.”

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King, who is set to reclaim his place between the sticks today after Nick Townsend (above, left) faced the Hammers, believes teams are showing County more respect following their play-off final appearance last season.

“The manager has said that teams will take notice of us after last year and I think we’re seeing that now,” said the summer signing from Millwall.

“Teams aren’t just going to come and attack us for 90 minutes, like they maybe would have done previously.

“There will be teams that will come to Rodney Parade wanting to sit behind the ball and get a 0-0.

“We’ve got to be prepared for that and maybe find a different way at times.

“But we are well and truly focused on the path that we want to be on this season.”

The unbeaten start to the league campaign has been built on four successive clean sheets.

“It’s just an accumulation of a lot hard work that we put in during pre-season on defensive shape and team shape,” said King.

“The lads up front are doing an unbelievable job of defending from the front and pressing teams high.

“I’ve not been overly busy in the games, which is something I’m quite pleased with.

“But I’m hoping that, whenever I am called into action, I’m doing a good job.”

And the competition with Townsend is spurring on the Exiles number one.

“He was unbelievable in the cup at Gillingham and he fully deserved his place on Tuesday night,” he said.

“He’s pushing me very day. I think my game has improved massively since Gillingham and hopefully I’m pushing him as well.”

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