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Returning From Exile

Started on 2 February 2023 by Feliks
Latest Reply on 3 February 2023 by Feliks
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Newport County splash the cash on Liam Cullen

Newport County have moved for Wrexham forward Liam Cullen in a move valued at £350,000, the largest outlay by the club since manager Hugo Montgomery took over in 2022.

Cullen is believed to have been a Newport target for a number of years since his Swansea contract expired but instead has played has played for Forest Green Rovers and then Wrexham at League One and Two level for the past three years.

The 28 year old striker/winger was instrumental in helping Wrexham get promoted back into League One at the first time of asking last season but couldn't turn down the opportunity to return to Championship football for the first time since 2023.
Feliks's avatar Group Feliks
3 monthsEdited

Player Profile: Paul Mullin

Paul Mullin is one of the most well-known non-league and Football League players in the country, thanks to his starring role on the Netflix documentary series, Welcome to Wrexham. But his exploits in amber-and-black has now made him a household name at Rodney Parade as well.

The 32 year old scored over 100 goals in the Football League for Morecambe, Swindon, Tranmere and Cambridge before diving into non-league football with Wrexham after they were bought by Hollywood A-listers Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. Mullin was a major part of the club's rise up the leagues to League One, but after Wrexham were relegated back into League Two for last season, Hugo Montgomery pounced at the opportunity to bring the naturalised Welsh striker to the club.

With Owen Jones and Joe Taylor already battling for a first team role as a striker, Mullin was instead converted to an outstanding left winger, scoring some extremely important goals throughout the season and contributing the most assists of any player as well. His 27 goal contributions (14G, 13A) saw him named in the EFL League One Team of the Year and now in the back end of his career, 'Super' Paul Mullin will finally get the opportunity to play at Championship level.

Defensive depth still an issue for Port

With the news that Tom Lockyer (pictured) has turned down Newport County's latest offer and signed with Turkish giants Besiktas, some fans are beginning to be concerned about the defensive depth at the club ahead of what will no doubt be a gruelling Championship campaign.

The Exiles currently have just five first team defenders on the books after the departures of Declan John and Morgan Clarke in June and the loan deal for Neil Williams to Dulwich Hamlet finalised last week. Academy graduate Ryan Ward and ex-Chelsea youngster Lloyd Ellis have begun training with the first team, but Lockyer remained the priority target for Newport County until contract talks broke down yesterday, and he left for Turkey.

The possible return of Josh Yorweth, who joined Crawley Town last season, has been floated as an option but fans have also begun to criticise Hugo Montgomery's 'Welsh cantera' policy that has restricted the opportunities to sign a Championship-calibre defender to help the likes of Jack Madelin and Aaron Lewis. Louis Thompson and Murphy Bennett - both midfielders converted to centre backs - have been touted as potential signings as well; Newport County have less than two weeks before the season opener at Reading.
Feliks's avatar Group Feliks
3 monthsEdited

Pre-Season Review

Newport County had to get their preparation for the upcoming Championship season right, and played a total of seven friendlies against clubs of varying strengths to build fitness, allow new players to get used to the tactical system, and provide the citizens of Newport a taste of elite football.

The Port slammed on 15 goals across their friendlies while on the annual pre-season camp in South Wales, before hosting Premier League giants Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, losing narrowly in a shootout to the Red Devils before claiming a priceless 1-0 win over the Spurs. A trip to Forest Green Rovers saw a solid 1-0 win before they defeated Wrexham 2-0 at home to finish off the pre-season.

Date Opposition TV Venue Result Goalscorers Comp
05/07 Penybont A 2-7 K.Chapman, O.Jones (x5), B.Burchell FR
07/07 Mumbles A 1-4 O.Jones (x3), R.Colwill FR
10/07 Undy A 0-4 I.Davies, O.Jones, J.Taylor FR
14/07 Manchester United H 3-4 A.Zakharyan o.g, J.Taylor, P.Mullin FR
21/07 Tottenham H 1-0 O.Jones FR
24/07 Forest Green A 0-1 R.Colwill FR
31/07 Wrexham H 2-0 K.Evans, J.Taylor FR
Player of the Pre-Season
Owen Jones was the star of pre-season, scoring 10 goals in 4 starting appearances including the winner against Tottenham Hotspur. The 20 year old has been tipped to be the most important player for Newport's survival chances and is edging ever closer to a maiden Welsh senior cap.
Montgomery's Thoughts
"Pre-season not only went according to plan this season, but we did even better than expected hosting two of the country's biggest clubs at Rodney Parade. Aside from being a welcome revenue raiser for the club, our 1-0 win over Tottenham has lifted morale incredibly across the squad. To finish off the pre-season with a couple of clean sheets against Football League opposition was a good lead-in as well. At least on the attacking front, I think we've assembled a group capable of challenging any Championship defence."
Coming Up...
Newport County's Championship campaign gets underway against Reading in the first gameweek of the season, travelling to Madejski Stadium to try and nab their first win in the division since 1947.

Newport County swoop for Solihull Moors' Evans

Newport County have completed the transfer of Solihull Moors defender Jordan Evans, for a fee of around £250,000.

The 19 year old centre back will link up with the Championship side's first team squad ahead of their season opener against Reading after impressing for Solihull at League Two and National League level.

The fee is the highest ever received by the West Midlands club and will provide much needed investment opportunities for a club attemping to regain its place in the Football League. Evans will add to the defensive stocks of Newport County that already includes Jack Madelin, Joe Woodiwiss and Will Andiyapan.
Feliks's avatar Group Feliks
3 monthsEdited

2027-28 Squad Review


Tom King has been a first team goalkeeper at the club across two separate stints, and was brought back from Salford City ahead of Montgomery's second season at the club to replace the departing Joe Day. After starting strongly in his first campaign, defensive frailties began to expose King's abilities more frequently and he was replaced by Lewis Thomas as the first choice goalkeeper last season. King continues to provide experience and leadership around the dressing room and has become the designated cup goalkeeper.

Lewis Thomas had been a long-standing target for Hugo Montgomery at goalkeeper and when he finally arrived from Carlisle for a fee of £120,000 at the start of last season, he instantly became a vital part of the club's promotion campaign. Capable of fantastic saves and strong in the air, Thomas has been backed to make the step up to Championship football this season.

Now coming up on his eighth season at Rodney Parade, Aaron Lewis has played 275 games for the club and is seen as one of the leaders of the squad despite not holding a captaincy spot. Lewis' ability to neuter Championship-level wingers has been questioned heavily over the off-season but his versatility and nous still makes him a valuable option for the squad. Lewis is also a dead-eye from the penalty spot, contributing heavily to his eighteen goals under Montgomery.

Owen Beck was brought in as competition for Declan John last season, and with the more experienced John now turning out for Shamrock Rovers, the ex-Liverpool academy prospect will be looked for as the first team option. Beck's technical prowess can occasionally be limited but he covers ground as well as any in the squad, an important attribute to have in a physically-demanding league such as the Championship.

Joe Woodiwiss's development was fast tracked from Hugo Montgomery's first season and the decision has paid dividends with the now 24-year old forming one half of League One's best centre back pairing last season. He now has over 150 appearances for the club and was called up to Wales' preliminary squad for the 2026 World Cup last year, indicating that a strong season at Championship level should see him break into the senior set-up.

Woodiwiss' partner-in-crime Jack Madelin has also developed into a reliable centre back, named in the League One Team of the Year last season. Slightly older and taller, Madelin's work rate allows him to reliably substitute on the right flank if need be but his best role is sweeping up loose balls behind a more forward-oriented Woodiwiss.

Although his quarter-million pound pricetag had some fans scratching their heads, Newport County have been keeping tabs on Jordan Evans for some time now and believe the deal with Solihull Moors will actually be fantastic value-for-money. A fantastic physical specimen who rarely put a foot wrong last season for the Moors, he's already represented Wales at under-21 level and has an extremely high ceiling. He could feature more heavily at Championship level than some fans expect.

Will Andiyapan has not quite developed into the top-string centre back people had hoped of him when he was at Tottenham Hotspur, but he has been a reliable servant for Newport County over the past three seasons and his versatility has been a helpful tool in rotating the squad. His lack of physical presence could hinder his chances of playing too much this season but he has the fundamentals down to do a job and his tackling in particular is renowned.

Lloyd Ellis joined the club in the summer after being released by Chelsea and was initially earmarked for a loan to further his development, but his performances over pre-season both on and off the pitch sees him earn a spot in the senior squad for the upcoming season. His versatility across either side of the pitch has also seen his value in the side rise.

The youngest and most inexperienced player currently training with the senior squad, Ryan Ward may yet leave the club on loan but for now remains as a backup option at right back. The 17 year old has made a handful of appearances for the first team in cup competitions and is considered one of the better academy players at the club currently.

Returning to the club after a loan spell a few years ago, Callum Jones will likely slot straight into a starting midfield role as the deep lying playmaker, replacing stalwart Lee Evans. He rarely missed a beat in his previous three seasons at Leyton Orient which did include a Championship campaign; he has fantastic passing vision and range for this level and all of the technical skills to pull it off.

Versatility might be a common thread in Newport County's squad, but Jordan Davies takes it to the next level having featured in central midfield, left back and on the right wing at various stages of his two years at Rodney Parade. Davies and Paul Mullin formed an excellent winger pairing last season and the 29 year old popped up with some key goals at important stages. He'll be battling with new signing Liam Cullen for a starting spot in the side.

Lee Evans started his career at Newport County when it was battling to rejoin the Football League, and he's been back at the club for a second stint for the past three seasons. Despite not having the physical tools to be a dynamic central midfield player anymore, Evans was still a very important player in Montgomery's set-up, playing in a deep lying midfield role. Evans' spot in the starting XI is likely to be filled by Callum Jones but he remains an invaluable leadership presence in the dressing room.

Rubin Colwill has more experience at Championship level than any other player in the squad which is why he was so highly sought after as a free transfer target. The ex-Cardiff player possesess a well-rounded game and can leave his imprint on games in an attacking midfield role, where he is set to feature heavily for Newport County.

Much like his dad Robbie, Charlie Savage is a tenacious and hard-working midfielder who has put in shifts from box-to-box ever since joining the club permanently two years ago. After some early injury troubles, he's become one of the first names on the team sheet and is being monitored closely by Wales manager Rob Page for a potential call-up.

Club captain Josh Sheehan is another player who returned to Newport County during Montgomery's reign and he's been captain of the club for the past three seasons. He's rotated heavily with Lee Evans and Charlie Savage the last two seasons but age is beginning to catch up with him, and he'll likely feature more reliably off the bench, leaving on-field leadership duties to the likes of Aaron Lewis and Jack Madelin.

Kieron Evans started his Newport County career incredibly well after a £200k move from Cardiff City, but his form tapered away as the season went on and was replaced in the starting eleven by Paul Mullin. Evans has reportedly had a falling out with management over the myriad of attacking signings this season which may push him further out of first team considerations.

Few Newport County players have had so many inches of editorial space dedicated to them than Joe Taylor, first due to his heroic goalscoring efforts and then due to his struggles for regular first team action when the club seemed to be prioritising the development of Owen Jones. Taylor remains a lethal finisher and one of the quickest players in the Championship and is the top scorer in Newport County history with 128 goals in 189 appearances.

Cult hero 'Super' Paul Mullin moved from Wrexham last season and became an instant hit on the left wing with Exiles fans. He's still very mobile and elusive for his age and his lethal finishing caused opposition backlines plenty of headaches, clocking up 14 goals and 13 assists. At 32, he'll finally get the chance to play Championship football but will face stern competition for his spot with Isaak Davies and Kieron Evans.

What Isaak Davies may lack in terms of technical ability is more than made up for by his rapid pace and his work ethic, making him a thorn in the side of any press-sensitive defense. He has a reasonable amount of Championship experience with Cardiff but his role at the club isn't clear at this point in time, apart from being available to play across both wings and up front.

Bradley Burchell remains one of the rawest prospects at the club and even three years after making his debut it is unclear what kind of future he'll be able to carve out at this level. But Burchell has stepped up to every challenge thrown at him in his brief career to date, and last season if not for injuries could have been lauded as one of League One's top attacking players. He racked up four goals and nine assists in just 21 appearances which has earnt him a place in the squad.

The third player to be poached from rivals Wrexham in recent memory, Liam Cullen has been a target for the club for a number of years and will finally be under Hugo Montgomery's stewardship this season. Although more comfortable as a striker, much like Davies and Mullin he will be employed on a wing where his above average crossing and acceleration can be utiilised.

The most valuable player at the club and a growing Welsh football icon, Owen Jones has developed steadily since joining as an 18 year old from Barry Town and will now be expected to drag Newport County to survival at the tender age of 20. A pure poacher in every sense of the word, Jones only needs a split second chance to score with his deadly accurate right foot. He's a deceptively hard worker too despite his laconic appearance.

Madelin elevated to vice captain

Jack Madelin has been named vice-captain of the side, replacing Lee Evans, with Josh Sheehan to stay on as captain for the upcoming campaign.

The 25 year old centre back has rarely missed a beat since joining from Shrewsbury Town in January 2023, with his new position a reflection of the leadership skills and dedication he has already shown in a young Port backline.

"Jack has been a role model for our younger players for a number of years now and it's very fitting for him to be named to an official leadership role. He's one of our most consistent players and has very high standards on the training pitch," said manager Hugo Montgomery.

Montgomery confident of survival

Newport County face their most difficult hurdle in recent memory, the EFL Championship, the culmination of five years of progress under Hugo Montgomery. The 32 year old spoke to assorted journalists ahead of tomorrow's season opener against Reading, with his usual confidence.

"There's no reason we can't stay up, we have tackled every challenge thrown at us, we have built a squad that knows their strengths, and their weaknesses, and we know what we play for."

"Some people will look at this club and say we can't afford to stay up. We don't have the players, we don't have the facilities, to keep up with the bigger clubs in this division. I've seen the betting shops, the newspapers, putting us bottom."

"I see football as a simple game, management as a simple task. You just have to get the right people around you to fulfill a simple set of goals. Score more, hold the ball more, set up with this defensive shape, that attacking formation, whatever you'd like. I know I have the right people at this club to fulfill the simple goal of survival."
Feliks's avatar Group Feliks
3 monthsEdited

Matchweek 1

Reading (18th)


Newport County (14th)
EFL Championship | 07.08.27 | Madejski Stadium

(4-2-3-1): Mike Cooper; Cody Drameh, Tom Holmes (c), Nelson Abbey, Mihailo Ristić; Lucas Romero, Sam Field; Alfonso Trezza, Felix Nmecha, Yakou Meïté; Christian Rasmussen
Subs: Tom McIntyre, Dejan Tetek, Coniah Boyce-Clarke, Zion Nditi, Nathan Young-Coombes, Kelvin Abrefa, Lucas João
(4-3-3): Lewis Thomas; Aaron Lewis, Jack Madelin (c), Jordan Evans, Owen Beck; Callum Jones, Charlie Savage, Rubin Colwill; Jordan Davies, Paul Mullin, Owen Jones
Subs: Tom King, Will Andiyapan, Lloyd Ellis, Josh Sheehan, Kieron Evans, Isaak Davies, Joe Taylor
Match Events
4' A.Lewis
Y.Meite (p)
F.Nmecha 85'
D.Tetek 88'
Match Stats


12 Shots 8
8 On Target 3
1.93 xG 1.05
8 Corners 2
7 Fouls 17
77% Pass Completion 82%
41% Possession 59%
Player of the Match

Montgomery's Insights
"We got a pretty good taste of what Championship football is like in our season opener, we didn't disgrace ourselves by any means but a couple of mistakes saw us 2-0 down and we couldn't put away our own chances when they came. Reading were dominant from corners which could continue to be an issue for us as we have one of the shortest squads in the league."

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