THE Amber Army might not be allowed into Rodney Parade but Nick Townsend intends to bring the noise this afternoon.

A West Midlands accent will boom loudly as Newport County AFC attempt to back up their much-needed win at Walsall with three points against Stevenage (kick-off 3pm).

The Exiles sit sixth in League Two, just three points back on the automatic promotion spots.

Home form will be key in their bid to go up and concentration has to be key on a tricky surface that is a barrier to creativity.

Manager Michael Flynn pointed out that the last four fixtures have featured an average of just six shots on target from both teams.

Goalkeeper Townsend might not be called into action as a shot-stopper too often but he knows that his actions become all the more important when goals are at a premium in Newport.

Nick Townsend

Nick Townsend

"I get my concentration through talking, even if I am talking nonsense," he said. "That's more for me than anybody else but at the same time I am helping the defence.

"Concentration is massive, especially at this time of the season with the position that we are in. Me and the back three or back four need to be on our mettle all the time.

"On that pitch get one goal and you can sit in and defend for most of the game, like we did against Grimsby.

"Concentration is important, especially because you don't know if the ball is going to bobble and it's important to watch the ball right into your hands."

Townsend has enjoyed a fine season after getting the nod ahead of Tom King at the start of the season.

His ability on the deck helped him on that front but he is still on top of the Exiles' teamsheet even though conditions now mean he has to put his boot through the ball.

Last week County conceded a second goal when Josh Sheehan undercooked a backpass and Townsend's wild swing led to a penalty that former teammate Jamille Matt won and scored.

It was the antithesis of the no-risk football that they should be playing inside their half at Rodney Parade.

Townsend jokes about asking the groundstaff to roller his area but is ready to take the direct route to the forwards.

GUTSY: Nick Townsend, Matty Dolan and Mickey Demetriou after the clean sheet at Walsall

GUTSY: Nick Townsend, Matty Dolan and Mickey Demetriou after the clean sheet at Walsall

"With the long ball, we are going to have to turn teams and adapt to the pitch," said the 'keeper. "That's how it is, we've just got to deal with it.

"There is a lot of risk playing out from the back, it's frustrating know that you are going to kick about 20 balls long but that is what we have to do now."

And Townsend is pleased that it is him slamming the ball up front after it looked like he would endure a spell on the sidelines.

A mistake at Crawley on Boxing Day opened the door for Tom King, who produced heroics in the FA Cup clash with Premier League Brighton.

However, Flynn turned back to Townsend after the Wales squad stopper put in an under-par performance at Oldham.

05.12.20 - Newport County v Morecambe - Sky Bet League 2 - Nick Townsend of Newport County saves from a Yann Songoo of Morecambe header

05.12.20 - Newport County v Morecambe - Sky Bet League 2 - Nick Townsend of Newport County saves from a Yann Songo'o of Morecambe header

"I couldn't see myself getting back in because he was spot-on in training and in everything he was doing," said Townsend, who is set for his 31st appearance of the season.

"Football changes so quickly and you just have to be ready. Once you get that chance to step back in you have to take it.

"We both want to play. We are more or less the same age and both want to kick on with our careers.

"It's been competitive and we both push each other. It's healthy and every club needs that."

Townsend will hope for a quiet afternoon against Stevenage, even if he's giving his defence earache.