AFTER a brief return to Rodney Parade, Newport County AFC go back on the road in League Two with goalkeeper Joe Day hoping for a performance more Tranmere than Salford.

The Exiles take on early pace-setters Harrogate in a game switched to Friday night, meaning an early start and late night on the motorways for Michael Flynn’s side.

County spent all of August away from home in the league because of work to put down the new hybrid pitch in Newport.

They were able to reflect on a solid job with wins at Oldham and Tranmere and defeats at Mansfield and Salford – they bagged six points from games that yielded two in 2020/21.

The high was the 1-0 win at Prenton Park when they defended with tenacity to take the spoils after Alex Fisher’s second-half goal.

The low was unquestionably the 3-0 drubbing at Salford, with two of the three first-half goals coming after horrendous errors and some errant late Ammies finishing saving the score from being even worse.

County responded to that disappointment with an EFL Trophy win against Plymouth and a draw against Leyton Orient in a thrilling clash.

The Exiles got the Salford hammering, plus the 8-0 loss to Premier League, out of their system but can’t afford to be off their game against Harrogate.

South Wales Argus: DESPAIR: County were hammered 3-0 by SalfordDESPAIR: County were hammered 3-0 by Salford

“They’ve had a really good start and it will be a tough but we are Newport and we relish the toughest of circumstances,” said Day.

“We are definitely looking for that near-perfect away performance, such as Tranmere.”

“It was important to respond after a poor performance and a poor week,” he continued. “I thought we did that [against Orient], we battled away and nobody was short of effort.

“We were a little bit lacking in quality, because we know the levels that we can get to, but it was a positive point and something to kick on from.

“It was a fantastic atmosphere and great to be back at Rodney Parade in front of the fans.

“It’s been a long wait for us all and for us to come back twice from being behind shows really good character and it was a good way to finish the game, we possibly could even have won it.”

Day has started the season ahead of Nick Townsend in the pecking order after returning to County from Cardiff City.

After going agonisingly close to promotion in 2019, the 31-year-old is hopeful of having another push for League One.

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“I am over the moon to be back, hopefully we can be even more successful this season than my previous time here,” he said. “I am so happy to be back and just excited by the possibilities of what we can achieve.”

Harrogate are setting the early pace but it remains far too early to be concerned with the league table, although Day knows the Exiles have to avoid the need to play catch-up like Bolton Wanderers last season.

“You don’t want teams to get too far ahead, you want to keep ticking away with points,” he said. “We are still gelling after quite a big turnaround of players this summer and I am sure we will only keep improving.”