NEWPORT County will kick off their Nationwide South campaign in familiar fashion in August, starting against the two sides they battled with to avoid the drop last season.

County's campaign gets under way at Spytty Park on Saturday, August 13, against Carshalton Athletic, the team who finished below but also survived relegation on the final day of the season.

And in a true twist of fate, just three days later on August 16, County travel to Maidenhead United, the team that County did relegate on the final day of last season after a 2-1 home win.

Luckily for Maidenhead (who finished third from bottom) they were given an eleventh hour reprieve as early season table-toppers Hornchurch, lost their financial support and were demoted.

County's third game of the season, on Saturday August 20, sees them travel to newly promoted Southern League outfit Eastleigh, one of four new teams in the Conference South along with Histon, Yeading and relegated Conference outfit Farnborough Town.

Should County require another nail-biting final afternoon of the season to secure their survival (or indeed promotion) then they will do so at home, against Essex outfit Thurrock on April 29.

However, County boss John Cornforth is confident that his side are in for a good season, although he could barely believe the irony of playing Carshalton and Maidenhead.

Cornforth explained: "It is fairly amazing to be playing those two first, but I guess that is the joy of football, anything can happen.

"Any game this season is potentially difficult, because without Grays I don't think any team will be unbeatable, it'll be more a case of lots of teams challenging.

"The Conference South is becoming more and more dog eat dog, so we will have to hit the ground running.

"But once I've got in the players that I want, I will really trust this side and for the coming campaign I will be setting them points targets at the start of every month.

Cornforth is still working hard behind the scenes to bring in players and is understood to be very close to signing one former league player, who is still being paid by his current club.

Cornforth is also still keen to sign Antonio Corbisiero, released by Swansea in the close season, but Corbisiero is set to join up with Conference side Hereford United for pre-season assessment.

* Meanwhile, Welsh Premier outfit Llanelli have snapped up Gethin Jenkins, released by County this summer.