Last SATURDAY’S trip to Oldham Athletic was a brilliant chance for us to get back on track in the league, but it turned out to be probably the lowest moment I have had as a Newport County player since I signed for the club.
We were easily beaten 5-0 and it was a massive wake-up call for us. Believe it or not, we started the game really well and we were the better team for the first 20 minutes but when we conceded the first goal, a couple of heads dropped in our team and it just got worse from there.
One of the most disappointing aspects of the game for me was that it all seemed too easy for Oldham and that isn’t what we are usually like.
Even when things aren’t going right for us on the pitch, the effort is there and that has got us out of trouble a few times. But Saturday was very frustrating.
Injuries have probably been our biggest problem this season. We have had way too many of them and we can’t figure out why. Saturday summed it all up as we only had five subs instead of the seven we are allowed. Before the warm-up had finished we were down to four as one of the players was suffering from chest pains so he had to pull out on medical advice.
Of course, that disrupted our preparations. We actually started the game really well, so it wasn’t an excuse for us, but unfortunately we are down to the bare bones at the moment.
Even some of the youth team players who have been involved over the past few weeks are struggling with injuries too.
The play-offs are probably beyond our reach and we are too far ahead of those behind us to get pulled into a relegation battle so it may seem like we have nothing to play for in the last 12 games of the season. That is very wrong though and if some of the players think that it will end up being a very difficult final seven weeks.
Every player in the squad is playing for their future, whether it is at Newport County or at another club. Players who are on loan will be trying to impress their parent clubs to be an option for them next season. Players who are out of contract are playing for a new deal, either here or at a new club, and even players who have contracts for next season are playing to make sure the manager doesn’t bring other players in to shove them down the pecking order.
For the first time in a long time, we have a free midweek this week so that will give our players more time to recover and get back for this weekend’s game.
We are at home to Morecambe, one of my former clubs and a club that seems to have a hoodoo over Newport in recent seasons.
We want to put last week’s result behind us, but we also need to use it as motivation. We need to remember exactly how we felt during the game and make sure that never happens again. We have an opportunity to take our frustrations out on another team so hopefully that team will be Morecambe on Saturday.
They have had a bit of a resurgence since Derek Adams took over in November, but at the same time, we know that things aren’t all well up there and he has fallen out with some highly respected players. Hopefully we can use that to our advantage.
Last weekend we let down a lot of people with our performance, so we have a chance to put it right this weekend and to redeem ourselves. I don’t ever want to feel like I did last weekend when the final whistle went so I will be doing all I can to help us and make sure others do the same too.