The County youngster with 'bite' that has made an impression on first team squad

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PROMISING: Harrison Bright made his League Two debut in County's final game of the season
PROMISING: Harrison Bright made his League Two debut in County's final game of the season

HARRISON Bright has the tenacity to make an impact for Newport County AFC in League Two but manager James Rowberry won’t rush the talented young defender.

The 18-year-old from Blaenavon made his Football League debut in the Exiles’ 2-0 defeat to Rochdale at Rodney Parade on final day.

Bright, who made his senior debut in the EFL Trophy in 2020, was an unused substitute against Bristol Rovers, Stevenage and Bradford before his chance came on home soil.

The right-back came on for the injured Scot Bennett on the hour and promptly flew into a challenge, giving away a free-kick but earning the applause of captain Matty Dolan.

Bright is rated highly but County won’t rush him given that Cameron Norman and Aaron Lewis are their current options down the right, along with versatile Robbie Willmott.

“He has got some unbelievable bite for a kid, he is very tenacious and that is why he has got into the team and that’s why the lads like him,” said Rowberry.

“I had my mind made up to bring him on against Rochdale no matter what and when Scot went down we felt we could rejig the back five.

“He still needs to get some development into him and we can’t push him too far, too quickly.

“We can’t have too high expectations. We have to be mindful of that because he is a developing player, so we will take our time with him and make sure it’s right for us.

“Training with us and being around the environment will ultimately help him – it’s a very good development environment but I want it to be a winning environment as well.”

Bright is one of three scholars to sign their first professional contract, joined in earning deals by goalkeeper Evan Ovendale and midfielder Jack Karadogan.

Ovendale, the 17-year-old son of former County ‘keeper Mark, is yet to make his debut after being on the bench against Walsall and Hartlepool. He will continue to work alongside Nick Townsend and Joe Day.

Karadogan, a Wales international at under-17 and under-18 level, got a taste of the first team when named on the bench for the win at Carlisle.

"Their attitude and desire to work hard and want to learn every day [has impressed]," said Rowberry.

"What is important now is to continue that development. There are opportunities in training and potentially then looking at game time for them, whether with us or on loan.

"Evan has an unbelievable work ethic and great attitude; he is a very good shot stopper and we just have to keep developing him to help him in game time.

"Jack offers ball-playing qualities in the centre of midfield, he has had a good upbringing and we have to continue to develop that."

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