Newport County inspired by Leicester City, says Warren Feeney

Warren Feeney
Newport manager Warren Feeney had spells at Cardiff and Swansea during his playing career

Manager Warren Feeney says his Newport County side will be inspired by the unlikely success of Leicester City ahead of the new season.

The Exiles, who start their campaign at home to Mansfield on Saturday, have one of the smallest budgets in League Two.

But Feeney cites Leicester's remarkable Premier League title triumph last season as reason to believe Newport can confound the odds.

"We probably are a bottom-six budget," Feeney told BBC Wales Sport.

"We're looking at Leicester as a benchmark, you know they've got a good group together and they went and won the Premier League with [other clubs'] massive, massive budgets.

"So that's what I've got to instil in these players to believe that they can do.

"We're Welsh and they [other teams in League Two] are English and we've got to make it us against them.

"I'm all into that and you know that's the mentality I'll try and bring them. Obviously experience is massive and I thought I've brought in very good players with that little bit of experience that can help us where we want to be."

Summer turnover

Marlon Jackson
Marlon Jackson (right) joined Newport County in July 2016 after impressing during a trial

Newport's squad has undergone a significant makeover during the summer, with several players coming and going.

The Exiles have signed 15 players, including strikers Jon Parkin and Marlon Jackson, midfielder Ben Tozer and defenders Dan Butler and Jazzi Barnum-Bobb.

Those arrivals have coincided with the departures of players such as winger Alex Rodman and former captain Mark Byrne.

In his first full season at the helm after taking charge in January, Feeney feels he has a stronger squad at his disposal.

"I'm not one to celebrate staying in the league. I thought I needed to bring better players in from last year," he said.

"That's no disrespect to them but you always want to move forward.

"We've not got a big squad and a big budget. We've got to keep it tight-knit and sign that quality we can afford."

The return of 'The Beast'

Jon Parkin
Jon Parkin (left) scored 38 league goals in 84 games for Forest Green before joining Newport

One of Newport's most notable signings this summer has been the capture of former Cardiff striker Parkin.

Known as 'The Beast', the burly target man has developed a cult following during a career which has seen him play for 14 clubs.

Now 34, Parkin is entering his twilight years but, with Newport striker Lenell John-Lewis facing a long-term lay-off, he could play a prominent role this season.

"Jon's another option for us. You look at [Wycombe striker Adebayo] Akinfenwa - he occupies defenders, and I think Jon's got that," said Feeney.

"He still wants to play. I hated hanging up my boots and he's running about like a big kid and he's got quality. He can be a great asset."

'We can have a right go'

Newport finished the 2016-17 season in 22nd place in the League Two table, nine points clear of the relegation places.

Feeney is reluctant to set a defined target for the campaign ahead, but he feels his side can improve.

"We've just got to progress from last year," he added.

"Yes you get massive clubs in this league like your Pompeys [Portsmouth] and your Plymouths but, as I've said, if you spend wisely and get the best players in and a great team spirit, we can have a right go this year."

Top Stories