THREE months after helping the Wingmakers to qualify for Europe, goalkeeper Jamie Stephens looks set to start the season as Newport County number one and boss Justin Edinburgh has backed him to shine.
The 19-year-old former Liverpool Academy player did not expect to be the Exiles’ first choice goalkeeper when he arrived at Rodney Parade after being released from Anfield.
But with regular stopper Lenny Pidgeley unavailable for pre-season due to personal problems, Stephens has grabbed his chance.
And, after he impressed in friendly matches, Edinburgh will have no doubts about throwing the youngster in at the deep end against Accring-ton Stanley tomorrow.
"Jamie Stephens has done really well," said the boss.
"Age doesn’t concern me, you have to learn by playing.
"It might go well or it might not but that won’t be for lack of ability and I have no doubt that he is more than capable of playing League football."
Stephens is also confident in his ability if he does get the nod to play tomorrow ahead of Pidgeley and fellow new signing James Bittner.
"It should be a great occasion with the club being back in the League after 25 years and hopefully a good game as well," Stephens said.
"I’ve been training hard and hopefully I’ve done enough to get the start but I don’t know yet.
"I’ll prepare as I do every week before games. Things happen in football and you’ve got to be ready.
"Hopefully I can improve as a player and as a person and do well for the team.
"Pre-season has been great. We’ve gone unbeaten and that is good for confidence and shows that the manager’s tactics are working.
"First team football is very different from youth team football and it is just a privilege to be here really."