NEWPORT County AFC boss James Rowberry has had a pacemaker fitted on his heart after becoming a manager saved his life.

The 37-year-old had an operation shortly before the season after a regulation League Managers Association check picked up a disorder.

Rowberry went under the knife shortly before the League Two opener at Sutton United.

The boss has been in the dugout for the entire campaign and will be able to continue to work as normal due to the pacemaker.

OPERATION: County boss James Rowberry has had a pacemaker fittedCounty boss James Rowberry at Sutton

“I found out leading up to pre-season after a check-up with the LMA that I had something called complete AV heart block,” said Rowberry.

“The worst kind that you can get as well, third degree, so it wasn't a great situation that I was in personally.

“In the build-up to the Sutton game I had a pacemaker fitted to keep me alive basically.”

County defenders Fraser Franks and Mark O’Brien, who is on Rowberry’s staff, had to retire because of heart issues.

Legendary boss Justin Edinburgh, who led the Exiles back to the English Football League, died after suffering a cardiac arrest while manager of Leyton Orient.

“I will be forever grateful to the LMA, it wasn't for them then who knows what would have happened,” said Rowberry.

The former Cardiff City coach would not have had the scan were it not for being a manager but the issue is unrelated to the stresses of the job.

“It was a surprise and a shock for my family, I didn't tell the players until a couple of days before the operation,” he said.

“It something that I wasn't expecting to get at the age of 37 but it's nothing to do with football management or stress.

“It is something that has just been picked up and if I wasn't a manager then I wouldn't know that I had this, so I am really lucky to be where I am.”

OPERATION: County boss James Rowberry has had a pacemaker fitted

Rowberry went under the knife on Monday, July 25 and was back in training days later, albeit taking a back seat with his staff of Carl Serrant, Jarred Harvey and Jim Holman stepping up.

“For the first couple of weeks I felt horrendous, for Sutton, Walsall, Luton and parts of Bradford I wasnt feeling great but wanted to get on with it,” he said.

“I have got a really good assistant, first team coach, goalkeeping coach and a medical team who are aware of everything.

“I was supposed to be a lot calmer on the side but I'm not sure I was! That was a little bit of a tough period but we got through it and I want to pay credit to my players and staff because where we are at is because of the work they have put in.”

Rowberry – who wanted to raise the issue after wins rather than defeats – will need another operation in 10 years to change the battery in the pacemaker.

“I want to try and raise as much awareness as possible around different conditions and charities,” he said. “I feel that will be my responsibility because of what has happened.

“I am one of the lucky ones. When I go to work every day and say that I have got the best job in the world and that I am lucky to be doing what I am doing, it's genuine and heartfelt.”

Rowberry, who celebrated wildly after the cup upset against Portsmouth in midweek, will be his usual energetic self in the dugout at Harrogate tomorrow.