STRIKER Padraig Amond believes the summer signings have helped Newport County AFC recover from their Wembley heartache and get off to a flying start to the new League Two season.

Amond scored 23 goals in all competitions last season to help fire County to the fifth round of the FA Cup and seventh in the league.

The Exiles were beaten by Tranmere Rovers in the play-off final in May, but Amond says a host of new signings over the summer has refreshed the squad.

And, despite a tough set of fixtures at the start of the new campaign, Michael Flynn’s men are up to second in the table after Saturday’s 2-0 win at Forest Green Rovers.

Amond told iFollowExiles: “I think everyone thought at the start of the season when the fixtures came out that we’d have a tough start, especially with the hangover from last season.

“But that was put to bed early doors from the gaffer and from us all. The beauty of signing lots of new players is they weren’t involved in the disappointment, so they’ve reinvigorated everyone else.

“It’s brilliant we’ve had the start we’ve had but we need to capitalise on that and stay there for as long as possible,” added Amond.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen for the rest of the season, but it’ll be a lot easier going up through the automatic positions than it would through the play-offs again.

“It’s just a case of staying up there for as long possible, keep getting results and seeing where it takes us.”

South Wales Argus:

Amond scored the opening goal at Forest Green on Saturday, his fourth of the season, after fellow striker Tristan Abrahams had forced a mistake from Rovers goalkeeper Joe Wollacott.

“We had a game-plan; we went out there and we stuck to it,” said the 31-year-old.

“It worked really well, got the goal early from it and Tristan Abrahams has done brilliant again to close the goalkeeper down – that was something we worked on during the week and it was a great start to the game for us.

“They have a style of football but there’s always a chance of a mistake. We knew that once we capitalised on that, we needed to punish them straightaway.

“Thankfully we did that quite quick and it settled us down as well as putting more pressure on them as well.”

Wollacott was sent off for bringing down Abrahams in the first half at The New Lawn, but County had to wait until stoppage time before Ryan Haynes’ first goal for the club sealed all three points.

“There were obviously nerves after making one mistake and one mistake became two mistakes,” said Amond.

“Tristan’s done brilliantly to nick the ball off the keeper the second time, and he’s got him sent off.

“It’s a fantastic victory. Look, you can play all the football you want to play, and you can do whatever you want to do, it’s about getting results and we’ve got a really good result.”

The hosts had chances to level before Haynes’ clincher, hitting the post with a free-kick, but the County defence held form to record a fifth successive clean sheet in the league.

“It’s brilliant,” said Amond. “Defences win leagues, and we’re starting to click going the other way as well now and creating good opportunities.

“We have a lot of competition at the back now, which was proved with big Ryan [Inniss] coming in and he was outstanding, as was OB [Mark O’Brien] in the first half and Kyle [Howkins] in the second – it was a collective effort from everyone.

“That’s what it’s all about here; taking your chance when it comes and being ready to do a job when you’re asked to, like Kyle was at half time with the injury [to O’Brien].

“You can’t get too upset being left out of the team and Kyle’s proven that with his professionalism.”

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