NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn says a difficult start to the new season on the road will be worth it, if it helps deliver an improved playing surface at Rodney Parade.

County will not play at home until the visit of Chesterfield on Saturday, August 26, while work is completed on the drainage system and the pitch at the stadium they share with rugby sides Newport RFC and the Dragons.

The Welsh Rugby Union, which officially completed its takeover of the Dragons on June 27, is funding the installation of a new hybrid pitch and work is set to start this week.

It is hoped the drainage improvements and the new surface, which will incorporate natural grass and artificial fibres, will avoid a repeat of the problems of recent seasons.

Three Exiles fixtures were abandoned or postponed at Rodney Parade during the 2016-2017 season and the pitch was considered the worst in the English Football League.

After playing seven pre-season friendly matches away from home, Flynn’s men start the new League Two campaign at Stevenage on August 5.

They then go to Southend United in the Carabao Cup before further league trips to Crewe Alexandra and Coventry City.

It’s not the start Flynn wanted but he is not complaining.

“It is a tough start and there is lots of travelling early doors,” said the Exiles boss.

“It’s not ideal but it can’t be changed so we’ve just got to get on with it.

“And the big benefit is that we will have a lovely pitch to play on when the work is complete.

“That will be massive for us and good for the fans, who will be able to see us playing the ball about on the ground.

“It will also be crucial in attracting the players that we want to bring to the club.”

County’s chairman of the operations board Gavin Foxall is convinced that the new pitch will be a big boost for the club.

“Last season we had our issues with the pitch,” he told BBC Wales Sport.

“We'll go from having what was I think termed as the worst pitch in League Two to probably one of the best playing surfaces in League Two.

“We look like we are going to go from having a parks pitch of last year to one of the best playing surfaces, which is great for the players and the fans.”

Meanwhile, County have announced TIG Supplies as the new academy sponsor for the 2017-2018 season.

Established in 2012 and based in Adelaide Street in Newport, TIG Supplies provide all industrial supplies ranging from cleaning to power tools.

They also offer all Exiles season ticket-holders and Amber Loyalty (Rewards & Benefits) card holders 10 per cent off any purchase.

A club statement reads: "A long-standing supporter of the Newport County AFC, TIG Supplies sponsorship will help aid the academy for the upcoming season with a view to extend the deal for another two years." 

TIG Supplies manager Richard Lewis said: “TIG Supplies is delighted to have the opportunity to continue our sponsorship of Newport County AFC this year.

"As we are fortunate to already have an excellent relationship with the club we have decided to extend our sponsorship to include the academy, thus allowing us an opportunity to give back to the community. 

"We look forward to this new venture with the academy, and are fully committed to building an excellent working relationship with Byron Anthony.

"We anticipate this year’s sponsorship of the club to be every bit as successful as the previous year.”

County academy manager Anthony added: “It is great to have TIG Supplies on board as our academy sponsor for the upcoming season.

"It is fantastic to have a local business supporting our future and we would like to thank Richard for his support.”