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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 August 2006, 15:31 GMT 16:31 UK
Blake fuelled by Newport mission
Former Wales striker Nathan Blake
Blake hopes his goals can fire Newport to promotion
Former Wales striker Nathan Blake says helping Newport County back into the Football League would be the perfect way to end his playing career.

Blake made his Newport debut on Monday after joining his home-town club this month following a year out of football.

"We're aiming for promotion this year and then we'll see what we can do next year," Blake, 34, told BBC Wales Sport.

"I'd like to leave with the club in the Conference or, better still, in the Football League."

Blake was given a six-month suspension in August 2005 for testing positive for a recreational drug.

He had been released by Leicester at the end of the 2004/05 season, and made no attempts to return to professional football once his ban had elapsed.

It wasn't something I felt I learned a major lesson from on any sort of front

Nathan Blake on his drugs ban

But the urge to lace up his boosts again returned this summer and the former Wales striker went on trial with Championship side Stoke City.

Business commitments dictated that Blake felt unable to commit himself to full-time football, but an offer to join Conference League South side Newport County fitted his requirements perfectly.

"This works for me right now," said Blake, a former Chelsea trainee who went on to command 5.9m in transfer fees.

"My time with Stoke went very well. I was supposed to go back a week last Monday but there were times I had to be back in the Newport area to do certain things with business.

"It wasn't right for me to go to the (Stoke) manager to ask for two days off to attend meetings. That's just not going to happen.

"Something had to give along the lines - and it was a football to a degree."

Blake said he actually enjoyed his year out of football after 15 successive years as a professional.

He revealed he already had one eye on his retirement in what transpired to be his final season as a Premiership player in 2004 with Wolves.

The drugs ban accelerated his career change, although the whole episode still rankles with Blake.

I had a great reception from the crowd and it was a nice feeling running back on the park

Blake on his Newport debut

"I didn't think I did anything majorly wrong to be honest," Blake added. "It's not something I feel I've learned a major lesson from on any front.

"I know the ins and outs of the situation - not many other people do - and I feel I was hard done-by.

"Maybe the lesson I learned was to be more careful. It was just a stupid situation"

Blake came on as a second half substitute on Monday to make his Newport debut - and was almost booked for his challenge.

"I just left a mark early doors to let them know I'm not to be messed with," said Blake, who celebrated his debut with a 2-0 win which took Newport to second in the table.

"I had a great reception from the crowd and it was a nice feeling running back on the park.

"It was a good day all round because we got the result we wanted."

Newport were relegated from the Football League in 1988 and went out of business the following February.

A new club was founded three months later to play four divisions below the Football League, and The Exiles have been progressing slowly up the English pyramid ever since.

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