Former England international Terry Butcher on his Newport underdogs
NEWPORT COUNTY boss Terry Butcher admits he is happy his side have been labelled as underdogs for this year’s League Two campaign.
Several bookmakers have tipped the Rodney Parade outfit for the drop from England’s fourth tier following a squad overhaul that has seen a host of players come and go during the summer. But the former England captain, who was appointed as manager in April, believes his side will use the underdog tag to their advantage and silence their critics.
The ex-Ipswich centreback said: “If no-one likes us we don’t care – we’ll just get on with it.
“I like it (the underdog status) and I like it when people write us off – it only makes us stronger and only makes us more determined to do well.
“It’s very grounded here – there’s no prima donnas and there’s no-one who gets carried away.
“We are what we are – we’re a League Two side that wants to get out of League Two by whatever means and hopefully one day we can achieve that.”
After an impressive ninth place finish last season, the Exiles have seen 15 players leave during the off-season while more than 10 fresh faces have come into the squad.
Notable changes saw last season’s top-scorer Aaron O’Connor join Conference side Forest Green Rovers in June while Irishman Mark Byrne has been announced as the new club captain.
But Butcher said his side enjoyed a promising preseason and that his new-look team could well be a surprise package in League Two.
The 56-year-old added: “The overhaul hasn’t made that big an impact on the players. They’ve really thrown themselves into the challenge. It looks as though it’s a team that’s been together for some time which is a great tribute to the players.
“I picked Mark as captain because he’s a great example on the pitch.You’re looking for captains to be leaders on the pitch and he leads by example.”
Meanwhile, Butcher said he was delighted to return to the English league system following a six-year spell in Scotland that saw him work as an assistant coach for the national side before managing both Inverness and Hibernian.
Butcher said: “There’s not much difference really – you set a team out to go and play and you set a team to fight and scrap.
“We give the players a lot of respect and time off when they need it – but they work hard when they’re in.
“In the lower leagues, the thing that strikes you more than anything else is the honesty from the players and the honesty of the fans and everybody at the club.”
DEFIANT: Terry Butcher is fired up for the new season at Newport County