NEWPORT County AFC midfielder Max Porter says the players are desperate to put on a performance for the fans tomorrow night.

The Exiles were dazzling under the lights last Tuesday in the win over high-flying Oxford United but dismal in defeat against struggling Cheltenham Town on Saturday afternoon.

Ashley Vincent’s first half goal was the only thing between the sides but County were below par and Porter knows they have to improve when AFC Wimbledon visit Rodney Parade tomorrow.

“We started the game well but pretty much like the Oxford game we conceded the first goal and on this pitch it’s not great to chase games,” said the 26-year-old.

“That’s not making excuses because the other night we did it but we didn’t play with enough tempo and didn’t create many clear cut chances.

“They slowed the game down by going down when they were hardly touched but we let the game slip away from us.

“We’ve got to create that impetus at home and we’re looking forward to Tuesday because we want to put it right.”

Porter, who played 30 minutes against Cheltenham after replacing Lee Minshull, would love to start against his former club tomorrow as he continues his comeback from a long-term groin injury.

“We’ll all just be desperate to get out there,” said Porter. “We love playing under the lights here and we need to put on a performance for the fans.

“I think I’m ready to start now,” he added. “I was a bit disappointed not to start one of these games but I’m just grateful to be back playing.

“It’s great to be playing without pain and I’m ready to test myself now.”

The defeat, County’s third in the league at Rodney Parade this season, leaves them seven points off the play-offs with three games in hand.

Porter is convinced that County can still make the top seven but assistant manager Jimmy Dack appealed for some perspective after the Exiles’ latest setback, insisting that the club are performing well in their first season in League Two.

“We’ve got to make these home games count,” said Porter. “We did it in the first half of the season and if we do it in the second half we will make the play-offs.”

Dack added: “We’re eighth in the league so let’s be realistic about it.

“We’ve just come up from the Conference and we’d like to make those play-offs.

“That would be a massive achievement because there are some big experienced clubs in this league and this is all knew to us.

“We’re learning as a team and we’re giving it our all but sometimes it isn’t quite enough.

“Mansfield won the Conference by a considerable number of points last year but we’ve done a lot better than them this year so far.

“We have made forward strides.”