At the age of just 18, Gloucester City striker Joe Parker hit the headlines following a 19 minute hat-trick against Yate Town in an FA Cup third qualifying round match.\r\n\r\nIt was this performance that brought Parker to the attention of then-Director of Football at Newport County (and current Tigers manager) Tim Harris, who was in the crowd that night.\r\n\r\nParker, then at Hartpury College, was then signed by Newport County before being loaned back to the Tigers until the end of the season.\r\n\r\nNow in his second season back with the Tigers since being released by Newport in 2015, Parker took the time to reflect on his time in South Wales.\r\n\r\n”When I knew that I was going to Newport, I definitely didn’t feel daunted by the move. I just looked at it being a great opportunity for me to improve my game to that next level” Parker said.\r\n\r\n”At the start, obviously still being in education, I was going down to Newport once a week as I was finishing off my Hartpury studies so I got a good taste of training without going in everyday.\r\n\r\n”I think the biggest difference I noticed between Newport and Gloucester was the sharpness and fitness of the players from training everyday.”\r\n\r\nAt the end of the 2015 season, Parker was released by Newport after being told his contract would not be renewed.\r\n\r\n”Obviously when I found out that they weren’t keeping me on I was disappointed like any player would be, but that’s just¬†something you have to deal with in football and move on from.”\r\n\r\nNow, after topping the goalscoring charts for City last season alongside Lewis Hall, Parker looks ahead to another season in the National League North.\r\n\r\n”As a team I really think that we can achieve a lot this year. We have put in some very strong performances in the pre-season matches we’ve played and had largely positive results.\r\n\r\n”In terms of a goal target for myself,¬†I’m personally going to be taking the season one game at a time. Of course I have a figure in my head for how many goals I want but I’m going to take each game as it comes and hopefully at the end of the season I will have achieved that number.”

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