BUTCHER’S HUN­GRY

For­mer Eng­land in­ter­na­tional Terry Butcher on his New­port un­der­dogs

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Ian Mitchel­more

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.

Changes

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.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

DE­FI­ANT: Terry Butcher is fired up for the new sea­son at New­port County

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