LIAM Shephard has explained how he went with his “gut feeling” when deciding to join Salford City rather than sign a new deal at Newport County AFC.

Defender Shephard joined County’s League Two rivals on a two-year contract after 52 appearances for the Exiles last season.

The 26-year-old scored in victories over Barrow and Crawley Town, earned a place in the Carabao Cup team of the tournament as Newport reached the fourth round for the first time.

Speaking to the official Salford club website, he said: “It wasn’t an easy decision.

“I had a really good season with Newport and got to the play-off final.

“It was tough but I went with my gut feeling.”

He added: “The project of this club and where it wants to go, I think my gut feeling was to come and sign here and that’s what I’ve done, and I’m happy to get it done.

“There’s a lot of expectation on this club to win pretty much every game.

“When I was at Forest Green it was your first time in the league and you were expected to beat us, and I think that was motivation for us, like ‘we want to disrupt this and we want to win’.

“Luckily, we did, but I’m all for the expectations, there’s pressure to be successful and that’s my ambition.

“I’m energetic, I’ve been playing wing-back the last three years so I’ve been getting forward, getting crosses into the box.

“Hopefully I can add a few goals and keep getting my assists. On the other hand, I need to make sure I don’t get beat one-on-one and stop the goals.”

In a Twitter post, he said: “I just want to say thank you to everyone at Newport County for being so good to me in my short time there.

“I thoroughly enjoyed it and what a season it was.

“Gutted I couldn’t experience the full Amber Army but thank you for your support towards me and I wish you all the best.”

Rhondda-born Shephard played for both Cardiff City and Swansea City at youth level and progressed through the Swans’ ranks to make his debut in the FA Cup in 2016.

Either side of that he had loan spells with Yeovil Town before signing for Peterborough United in 2017.

A year later he signed for Forest Green and reached the play-off semi-finals in 2019, making a total of 67 appearances in a two-year spell.

“It’s great to have signed another top lad first and foremost, and a very attacking full-back who will add a great deal to how we want to play,” said Salford boss Gary Bowyer.

“I hope our fans will be excited by his arrival.”