DARTFORD V COUNTY (Tonight, KO 7.45)

GOALKEEPER Lenny Pidgeley says Newport County AFC will show tonight they have the mental toughness to bounce back from defeat.

Pidgeley was County’s star man in the 2-0 defeat at Wrexham on Saturday that ended a run of five successive victories.

And he believes the Exiles will pick themselves up and prove they are up for a battle by getting back to winning ways at Dart-ford.

Justin Edinburgh’s men remain top of the Blue Square Bet Premier by a point after their first defeat of the season but Pidgeley knows the importance of tonight’s clash in Kent.

“It’s all very well playing in a team that’s winning every week but I think the real characters stand up and be counted when things go against you,” said the ex-Chelsea stopper.

“I think you’ll see that at Dartford. You learn more about yourselves from a defeat and we’ve got to bounce back as soon as possible.

“I’ve been in teams that win every week and I’ve been relegated with Exeter last season so I know it’s a lot easier to be playing in a winning team and it’s massively important that we respond.

“But the spirit and mentality in this dressing room is great and we’ll show that.”

Pidgeley, who was signed by Edinburgh as a short-term dep-uty for the injured Alan Julian, has excelled in the past two games.

He saved a penalty in the 2-0 win over Hereford United last week and pulled off a string of superb stops to keep County in the match at The Racecourse.

“I thought I did well personally but I would have preferred the team to win,” he said.

“Apart from Mansfield I haven’t had a lot to do in the first few games because the team has been playing well and winning.

“When the guys in front of you are scoring three or four goals a game it makes my job a hell of a lot easier.

“It was a bit tougher against Hereford so I was delighted to get a clean sheet, and Wrexham was tougher again.

“But we’d have taken five wins out of six games. We’ve got 15 points and we’re top of the league so we can’t complain. It’s all about how we respond at Dartford now.”

The 2011/12 Blue Square Bet South play-off winners are up to 12th in the Conference after following up defeats to Tamworth, Woking and Macclesfield with victories over Kidderminster Harriers, Cambridge United and Alfreton Town.

A Harry Crawford hat-trick saw the Darts hammer Alfreton 5-1 on Saturday.

“I don’t know much about Dartford, I’ve never played there before,” admitted Pidgeley. “I know they came up last year so they’ll be used to winning and it won’t be easy for us.

“There’ll be a few tired bodies because the games are coming thick and fast now but it’s all in the head and we need to get out there, get a win and get the ball rolling again.”

Julian (knee) is likely to be back in two to three weeks and striker Danny Crow (also knee) faces a fitness test this morning.