Newport County: Mike Flynn's men aim to avoid last season's League Two drama
Newport County manager Mike Flynn is "excited" to embark on his first full campaign in charge, having inspired an astonishing final-day escape from relegation in League Two last season.
The Exiles beat Notts County 2-1 with a last-minute goal on the final day of the 2016-17 campaign to stay up.
"Quite a lot has to be different," said Flynn.
"I don't want to be anywhere near where we were last season, hanging on. It could have gone either way.
"We were fortunate, even though the boys put in a tremendous end of season with seven wins out of 12.
"We only needed one draw in that [instead of a win] and we would have been relegated. Let's not kid ourselves - it was very, very close going into the last minute of the game."
Newports's season opener at Stevenage Borough is the first of three consecutive League Two games on the road because a new Desso pitch is being laid at their Rodney Parade home.
"We have known for a while, there will be no excuses from our part," Flynn added.
"It's not ideal, its not perfect. But if it means we get a good surface to play on... I have already been able to attract the right type of players because of the surface - it is worth that little loss."
The County manager still hopes to add to his squad and believes Premier League clubs may be more inclined to loan players towards the end of the summer transfer window.
But overall he is content as he goes into the new campaign, believing the club is in better shape both on and off the pitch.
"We have a little target which we have spoken to the players about and have agreed on," he said.
"I don't want to put pressure on the players, I don't want to say we need to be top by Christmas and we find ourselves 17th, because then the season is done, they lose complete belief and focus. It's an unrealistic ask.
"But we have got together a very sensible and achievable goal and if we do it, it will be a great season."
- Matt Dolan (midfielder) from Yeovil Town.
- Lamar Reynolds (striker) from Brentwood Town.
- Frank Nouble (striker) from Southend United.
- Shawn McCoulsky (striker) loan from Bristol City.
- Ben White (defender) loan from Brighton and Hove Albion.
- Craig Reid, Ryan Bird, Mitch Rose (released).
- Lenell John-Lewis (to Shrewsbury).
- Mark Randall (to Crawley).
Inside the camp
Mark O'Brien, who scored the last-gasp goal to salvage League Two survival last season, said: "The way last season finished, everyone is aware of Newport County now.
"They know they are going to be in for tough games. We will fight till the very end.
"If we go into this season and continue what we did at the end of last year we should have no problems."
Former Wales defender Danny Gabbidon said: "I can see them finishing a bit more comfortable than last season. A mid-table finish would be a good season for them, but if they can get off to a good start then anything is possible.
"Lennie Lawrence [Flynn's assistant] was a really astute signing at a very difficult time for the club, he has a wealth of knowledge and knows the game inside out.
"Mike is a young, inexperienced manager just learning his trade. He has someone to bounce ideas off and to go to for advice. There are not many better than him in the game."
BBC Wales football correspondent Rob Phillips says: "There is a real buzz around the club, generated by the never-to-be-forgotten great escape.
"In the long run, the new pitch will surely be a help, with short-term pain endured for long-term gain.
"Newport have flirted with danger for the last two seasons. Anywhere mid-table will be decent."
Newport's first five league games
Aug 5th - Stevenage (a)
Aug 12th - Crewe Alexandra (a)
Aug 19th - Coventry City (a)
Aug 26th - Chesterfield (h)
Aug 29th - Forest Green Rovers (a)