NICKY Maynard is confident that he can enjoy another promotion charge with Newport County AFC – and not even watching an Exiles horror show stopped him from signing up.

The 34-year-old striker moved to Rodney Parade on loan from Mansfield and made an immediate impact to help end an eight-game winless streak in League Two.

Maynard struck the only goal of the game as the 10-man Exiles beat Grimsby Town last weekend and will hope to back that up against Southend in Newport on Tuesday evening.

The experienced forward was manager Michael Flynn’s prime target throughout January and finally signed shortly before the deadline, that despite tuning in to see a nightmare display by his future teammates.

Maynard said: “After we had spoken, our game at Mansfield was postponed and I watched the second half against Harrogate, and he said that was the worst they had played!

“But I had seen the squad and I have been in teams that have a bad run of form, it’s going to happen throughout a season.

“It’s how you bounce back and we will see how we are from the win against Grimsby going into Southend, if we get another win then everyone is happy.

“I know it’s been tough for the lads over the last few weeks but there is a good bunch in there.

“We were backs against the wall for most of the game against Grimsby but sometimes a 1-0 win like that can push you on and hopefully that is a sign of things to come.”

South Wales Argus: WINNER: Nicky Maynard struck on his Newport debutWINNER: Nicky Maynard struck on his Newport debut

Maynard had other options after being told by Mansfield boss Nigel Clough that he wasn’t going to be the main man up front at Field Mill.

Flynn was key to the former Cardiff City striker returning to south Wales.

“The manager first and foremost,” said Maynard when asked why Newport. “He was the one that told me how much he wanted me to help the team push up the league.

“He told me how he saw me fitting into the team and I saw how they played when I was at Mansfield.

“I felt I could fit into that team, although when we played them at the start of the season the pitch was perfect and you could play out from the back. Not so much now.

“But I feel wanted – that’s all I want. I want a manager who believes in me and has faith in me, then it’s down to me to repay that and I am looking forward to what is to come.”

Saturday’s game was Maynard’s first start since November, partly because of a hamstring injury and partly due to selection. He scored 15 goals for the Stags last season but was a fringe figure in 2020/21.

“At Mansfield I was doing well but a new manager came in with a new philosophy, his own players and changed formation,” he said.

“Nigel Clough was honest with me and said that he was happy for me to stay but that I probably wouldn’t play as much as I’d like and that he wouldn’t stand in my may if I found somewhere else.

South Wales Argus: Nicky Maynard in action for Mansfield at Newport at the start of the seasonNicky Maynard in action for Mansfield at Newport at the start of the season

“I’m at the stage of my career where I don’t want to be on the bench every week and sometimes not even getting on. I want to be involved and that’s why I decided to move on.”

Mansfield’s loss in Newport’s gain and the seasoned campaigner made an immediate impact despite not fully being up to speed.

“The more game time that I get, the better I will feel,” said Maynard, who will split time between Newport and the north west of England, where his family is based.

“I don’t feel that the sharpness is there yet but I know where the goal is and if I get a chance I am more than confident that I will put it away.

“You don’t get many chances in games when the pitch is how it is. I’m not one of those strikers who is going to bully the defenders, hold them off, win headers, so it’s just about being in the right pace at the right time, and being ready.

“Once you’re on that… I was going to say green pitch but it’s not here! Once you cross that white line, as a striker you are just hungry to win games and score goals. That will be me throughout my career.”

South Wales Argus: JOY: Nicky Maynard celebrates his first Newport goalJOY: Nicky Maynard celebrates his first Newport goal

Maynard went up with Bury in 2019 when he joined forces with fellow County new boy Dom Telford up top.

The fourth-placed Exiles may have endured a tricky December and a nightmare January but the striker is confident that they will be contenders for automatic promotion despite the Rodney Parade pitch that has necessitated a change of style.

“Definitely that’s why they are up there still,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a different team [to the one he faced in October], the philosophy is still there but we need to adapt to the way that the pitch.

“It’s not going to be easy to play the way we want to. We have to ground out results like against Grimsby and if you can do that then it shows there is a good squad that can get three points any which way you can.”