Newport County may lie five points from safety in League Two right now, but former Exiles manager Terry Butcher is backing new boss Graham Westley to secure survival for the South Wales outfit this season.
The former Port gaffer was speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes News at St George’s Park, and told us:
“I think Graham [Westley] will turn things around at Newport. It can be a long, slow process, but his organisation is spot on, and he has plenty of experience. They’re not in a great position right now, but they do also have a game in hand on the clubs around them, and a run of winnable matches coming up.”
However, despite still occupying the bottom spot, Westley has already made an impact on their survival hopes, with four points from their last two league games – while a 2-0 EFL Trophy win over AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night will also have provided a welcome boost.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt County will move up the league”, Butcher said. “It takes time to develop a team, and it’s taken a while for this side to gel, with such a high turnover of players. But I have every faith Graham will deliver at the club.”
One issue in attacking areas has been the long-term injury of prolific goalscorer Lenell John-Lewis. But despite missing ‘The Shop’, the former England captain believes they have an excellent substitute for him in sizeable hitman Jon Parkin.
Butcher said: “The serious injury to Lenell has been really unfortunate, but big Jon Parkin has come in and looked lively. He’s experienced, strong and knows where the back of the net is. If you get the ball to Jon, he will score.”
Having returned to the Football League back in 2013, following relegation and reformation in 1989, the former Exiles manager stressed just how vital it is for Newport to have a club in the EFL.
“It’s vital they stay up this season”, Butcher explained, “They’ve worked so hard to get there – obviously they’re known as the ‘Exiles’ because they lost their ground for a time”, being forced to play games as far away as Gloucestershire.
“The money situation – and other circumstances – have changed in recent years, but despite their position being a bit concerning right now, I’m backing Newport to survive in League Two this season.”
He added: “It’s going to be a long, hard fight this season, but I’m confident the fans will get what they’re looking for – stability and a place in League Two next season.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing