RYAN Haynes will take his place down the left for Newport County AFC against Barrow this afternoon, reaping the rewards of staying calm after a December nightmare.

The 26-year-old from Daventry has been a firm fixture in the XI since arriving in the summer of 2019 from Shrewsbury.

The defender has racked up a century of appearances in amber and benefitted from that experience before Christmas.

Haynes certainly wasn't the only player to have a first half to forget against Sutton but he was the one that suffered the frustration of being subbed at half-time.

The left-back lost his spot to Aaron Lewis for the next four games until a couple of lively outings off the bench earned a recall.

Haynes grasped the opportunity and has been a leading figure in a hat-trick of wins that have lifted County to third in the League Two table, all with clean sheets.

The defender has shown his character but won't take to the field with a swagger this afternoon – he pledges to not get too down, or too carried away.

South Wales Argus: COMMITTED: Ryan Haynes in action for CountyCOMMITTED: Ryan Haynes in action for County

"You can be on top of the world one minute and the bottom of the ocean next," said Haynes. "It's never plain sailing, it is a rollercoaster.

"If a game doesn't go your way then you have to forget about it and move on. It's the same if it's going too well, you can never get too high or too low.

"You need to keep a level head because opportunities will come around again and you have to take them.

"Obviously, emotions do come into play and you can get frustrated. If it has gone really badly then I'd say it takes me about a day [to get over it].

"You do need time to reflect but you need to keep a level head or you can sink even more or you can live in la-la land.

"At some points in my career I probably did sink low but dealing with things comes with experience."

Haynes knows that he is no shoo-in down the left because of the presence of Lewis, who is also keeping right-back Cameron Norman on his toes.

The tussle was a feature of the second half of last season when Haynes and Lewis did so well that Liam Shephard was shifted to a central defensive role.

South Wales Argus: RECALL: Ryan Haynes has earned his start back at CountyRECALL: Ryan Haynes has earned his start back at County

"It's healthy competition. 'Azza' knows what I think about him, he is a top player and there are no hard feelings when he is playing," said Haynes.

"When he's playing he is looking over his shoulder at me and that makes him play better, and vice versa."

Left-footed Haynes has added balance to a team that has shifted from wing-backs to a flat four in recent games, although it hasn't dramatically changed his approach.

"It doesn't make too much of difference, you play the position similarly," said Haynes, who has Scot Bennett providing midfield protection.

"There is maybe a bit more responsibility when defending. As a wing-back you have more of a licence [to go forward] but you have to pick your timings better as a full-back."

But attacking stats aren't prime focus for Haynes, who has provided two assists and is yet to score this season.

"We are keeping clean sheets at the moment and that is the main thing for me," he said. "We have got others chipping in with plenty of goals so mine don't matter at the minute.

"Get a clean sheet and you are heading in the right direction because if you are scoring then you are winning."

Promotion-chasing County are favourites to take the spoils against Barrow, who have slid down to 21st in the table, but Haynes isn't complacent.

"You can't go into any game thinking you are going to turn any team over. There are no easy games in this league and we will all have to be at it against Barrow," he said.