NEWPORT County AFC step up their pre-season preparations this week with their first friendly matches and the club’s search for a new training base is over.

County have been without a dedicated area for the players and staff to eat together and relax before and after training since a fire in January this year led to the old Bar Amber complex at Spytty Park being condemned.

The Exiles players began pre-season training with fitness tests at Cwmbran Stadium at the end of June due to Spytty hosting pre-booked school sports days.

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But they have now agreed a deal to use the state-of-the-art training facilities just up the road at Dragon Park – the National Football Development Centre.

Opened in 2013, the £5million facility was funded with investment from UEFA, the Football Association of Wales (FAW), Sport Wales and FIFA.

Manager Michael Flynn, who completed his UEFA Pro Licence with the FAW coaching programme at Dragon Park, and his team will have access to two grass outdoor pitches, a 3G pitch and a suite of changing areas that includes a physio room and four ice baths.

The facility was used by Pep Guardiola and his Manchester City side back in 2016 and has also acted as a base for some of the biggest names in football to do their coaching badges, including former players Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, David Ginola and Sol Campbell.

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County trained at Dragon Park yesterday morning as they prepare for a behind-closed-doors friendly at Bristol City’s training ground tomorrow.

The Exiles will then travel to Chepstow on Friday night to take on Undy AFC (kick-off 6.45pm) before another match at Chippenham Town on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3pm).

Before then the club is hosting its official kit launch in the city centre this afternoon.

Mickey Demetriou and new signing Keanu Marsh-Brown will be in John Frost Square, Friars Walk, from 4pm to show off the new home and away shirts and meet supporters.

The event begins at 3.45pm with Newport City Radio providing music. Supporters will then hear from the players before local musician and County supporter, Jack Perrett puts on a live performance.

There will be plenty of chance to grab a selfie or a signature from the players and Spytty the Dog will also be in attendance.

Fans will also have the chance to win a 2018-2019 kids shirt before they go on sale.