LONG-term injury victim Byron Anthony has made a successful return to action after close to six months on the sidelines with a broken leg, the Argus can reveal.

The popular Newport-born defender, who has been a star turn for the Exiles ever since joining the club, broke his leg in two places in a Capital One cup tie at Brighton in August.

It’s been a long road back for the 29-year old, who as we revealed last week, has returned to full training with the Exiles.

And this morning Anthony stepped up his rehabilitation by playing in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Bristol Rovers, lasting 70 minutes with no ill-effects.

County won 3-2 after trailing 2-0 and Anthony wasn’t the only returning player.

Former captain Max Porter continued to step-up his return from a groin problem that has sidelined him for the best part of a year by playing 80 minutes.

And in further good news for County fans, central defender Ismail Yakubu also played for an hour.

The Exiles were up against a strong Rovers side that included Welsh U21 internationals Ellis Harrison and Elliott Richards.

Argus columnist Mike Flynn also featured for the Exiles, getting himself on the scoresheet alongside triallist Jacob Cleaver and Christian Jolley, Newport battling back to win late on.

County’s director of football Tim Harris was at the game and content with what he saw.

“It’s obviously great to have Byron Anthony involved and playing well, he lasted 70 minutes as scheduled and he played well, he was surprisingly sharp,” he told the Argus.

“Max played as well, he probably did 80 minutes and Ismail Yakubu.

“It won’t do Christian or Flynny any harm to get on the scoresheet so it was a very satisfactory work-out for us.”