CENTRE-BACK Kyle Jameson has big boots to fill for the second time in his short Newport County AFC career.

The 25-year-old became Graham Coughlan’s second signing last summer and the left-footer was pencilled in to help fill the void left by Exiles legend Mickey Demetriou.

The former Tranmere man was then followed through the door by Ryan Delaney with a view to them featuring together in a defensive trio.

Injuries led to that plan being ditched with County shifting to a back four but then Jameson joined the long list of absentees.

A hip injury suffered at Crewe just four games into the campaign led to five months on the sidelines.

He watched on as Delaney became an increasingly important figure as the left-sided centre-back but the captain suffered a season-ending knee injury against Notts County last month.

That made Jameson’s return especially timely and after being an unused substitute he got back on the field in the closing stages of the Gillingham game to help preserve a 1-0 lead.

South Wales Argus: RETURN: Fit-again County centre-back Kyle JamesonRETURN: Fit-again County centre-back Kyle Jameson (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

That was followed by a second-half outing at Milton Keynes Dons and on Tuesday he slotted in next to Matt Baker and James Clarke to get 80 minutes at Harrogate.

Jameson still isn’t 100 per cent but he could be a key figure in the run-in as County look to make a late charge towards the play-offs despite the loss of their skipper.

“Ryan has been a big part of the team this year, being the captain and having good performances most weeks,” said Jameson.

“It's a big loss for the team but that's football, if this is my chance to get a few minutes then I will take it, even if it's a shame for Ryan.”

Jameson stayed on the bench against Eastleigh, Manchester United, Swindon and Walsall; the defender was champing at the bit but understands manager Graham Coughlan’s caution.

“It wasn’t worth putting me on in games when there was a risk,” admitted Jameson, who has been joined in a return to the matchday squad by fellow centre-back Declan Drysdale.

“The manager picked the right games for me to gain minutes – 15, 45, 80. I am building my way back up to getting 90.”

Jameson is looking to be a firm fixture in the side for the run-in after being denied the chance to establish himself at a new club.

“It has been a long process but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been good to finally get back.

“It was hard mentally but you need to keep going and we have a good team around to get us back as quickly as possible. Now I want to stay in the team and play as many games to the end of the season as I can.”

League Two: AFC Wimbledon v MK Dons, Bradford v Notts County, Colchester v Stockport, Crewe v Morecambe, Grimsby v Forest Green, Newport County v Mansfield, Salford v Gillingham, Swindon v Harrogate, Tranmere v Sutton, Walsall v Doncaster, Wrexham v Accrington.

(Crawley v Barrow postponed, waterlogged pitch)