NEWPORT County defender Ismail Yakubu admits the Exiles faced a bruising encounter with Tam-worth at the weekend.

Tony James limped out of proceedings as the Exiles secured an away win that put them back at the top of the Conference.

James’ central defensive partner Yakubu also picked up a few knocks in the heat of battle but he will be fit to face Ebbsfleet tonight along with the recovered James.

“It was a tough game. Tamworth are strong up front and my body is pretty battered and bruised,” said Yakubu.

“They really came at us at the end. It was a real battle but fortunately we stood strong and came away with the points.”

The win took the Exiles back to the top of the Blue Square Bet Premier table but Yakubu is not taking 23rd-place Ebbsfleet lightly.

“It’s nice to be top but we’re not getting too wrapped up in that after 13 games,” he said.

“Ebbsfleet will be just as tough. You’re never going to get easy games in this league. I know a few of their players and we won’t be taking anything for granted.”

The Nigerian-born defender scored his fourth goal of the season at Tamworth and is on the hunt for more having so far not scored at Rodney Parade.

“I think I’m going to reach my aim of double figures,” he added. “I’ve got four at the moment but the delivery has been superb.

“Sometimes I haven’t even had to move so I think I’ve been a bit lucky to be honest but I’ll keep trying to get in the right place at the right time.”