DEFENDER Cameron Norman would be forgiven for being grateful that he was sat on the sidelines as he watched a rampant Southampton on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old summer signing from Walsall enjoyed his first experience at Rodney Parade as a County player in midweek, but it was limited to a warm-up along with fellow new boy Alex Fisher.

Norman has started all three League Two fixtures but Aaron Lewis got the nod against Ipswich and once again slotted in against the Saints.

It was a tough evening for the Exiles against a Southampton side that turned up with a spot-on attitude that allowed them to show their Premier League quality in an 8-0 drubbing.

County hope it will be a case of short-term pain, long-term gain and insist it hasn’t dented their confidence ahead of this afternoon’s clash at Salford City.

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“It was a big learning experience for everyone involved,” said right-back Norman, manager Michael Flynn’s first summer signing.

“We’ve just got to learn from it and we have another big game to fully focus on. We’ve put in behind us.”

That is helped by the fact it was a strong Southampton side captained by England international James Ward-Prowse.

“You can understand it a bit more and see the reasons why it happened,” said Norman.

“If that was Southampton’s line-up this weekend then you wouldn’t bat an eyelid.

“Of course, we hold ourselves to high standards and as a team there were certain aspects that we felt we could have done better. It’s important that we learn from those sorts of things.”

County shipped eight on Wednesday but produced a textbook away performance last Saturday when winning at Tranmere.

Norman is set to return along with goalkeeper Joe Day, left-back Ryan Haynes, midfielder Ed Upson and forwards Jermaine Hylton and Fisher.

The starters will aim to pick up from where they left off at Prenton Park.

“That was the sort of performance that everybody could come away from with pride,” said Norman.

“There were bodies on the line and if we take that sort of defending into all away games this season then we give ourselves a good chance. Hopefully we will have more of that at Salford.

“They have a good squad and will always be competitive at this level. It’s a big game but one that we go into with confidence.”

County have spent August on the road in League Two with wins at Oldham and Tranmere either side of a narrow defeat at Mansfield.

Six points has given them a solid foundation but they want to add to the tally before enjoying home comforts against Leyton Orient next weekend.

“Nobody thinks it’s job done, we want a positive result at Salford,” said Norman. “It’s been a good start with a couple of wins and some good performances but it’s about building on that.”

County faced Salford three times last season, winning 3-0 in the FA Cup in Newport before a Josh Sheehan penalty at the death earned a 1-1 draw at Moor Lane in December. The spoils were also shared in Rodney Parade in January when it was goalless despite Sheehan seeing red on the hour.

League Two fixtures: Barrow v Bristol Rovers, Crawley v Northampton, Forest Green v Port Vale, Harrogate v Exeter, Hartlepool v Carlisle, Leyton Orient v Bradford, Salford v County, Scunthorpe v Tranmere, Sutton v Oldham, Swindon v Mansfield, Walsall v Stevenage.