Nicky Featherstone: Pressure is on Newport now – let’s see how they cope

Nicky Featherstone
Nicky Featherstone

Nicky Featherstone says he wants to see how Newport County react to being OUT of the Football League’s relegation zone.

The Welsh side have seemingly performed a Great Escape a la Hartlepool Unitd in 2015 under Ronnie Moore.

Newport have gone from being 10 points behind Pools last month to now being two points ahead of the boys in blue going into the last two games of the season.

County could relegate Pools today should they win at Carlisle and Featherstone and Co lose at Cheltenham.

Even a Newport draw allied to a Pools defeat would leave a near-impossible task on the final day of the season.

But Featherstone, at Pools two seasons ago when they fought their way out of trouble, says he is intrigued how Newport handle being ahead of the game, so to speak.

“There was no pressure on us back then under Ronnie, we were eight, nine, 10 points adrift,” said the midfielder.

“We were always chasing and we caught up and overtook the teams above us.

“That’s what Newport have done. Now they are above us it will be interesting to see how they react to it.

“They are the team being chased down now, the pressure is now on them.

“But we are going to have to win games, we’ve not been winning.

“It’s up to us to come together.”

Pools have done that in training under the instruction of interim boss Msatthew Bates, club captain Billy Paynter, plus backroom staff Stuart Parnaby and Ian Gallagher.

The spirit broken under the Dave Jones regime has been well and truly fixed.

However, Featherstone says the Pools players need to manage their game on the field much better for the last two games than the previous 44.

No team at the bottom can match Pools in terms of goals scored (52) but the number conceded, 73, is only ‘bettered’ by basement club, Leyton Orient

“It’s game management, it has been all season,” said the 28-year-old.

“Look at Barnet away, we’re two up, Liam [Dionnelly] brings the lad down and is sent off.

“You could say ‘let him have his shot’ – even if it went in and it’s 2-1 we still have 11 men.

“It’s decision making, mistakes in the heat of the moment and it’s cost us all season.

“You say the Blackpool game when we had a decent performance but one lapse of concentration has cost us.

“It’s been all season and it’s not just been one person, it’s been throughout the team.

“Us players have to take responsibility for all that.”