By Tony Leighton
Newport County will be aiming to continue their splendid return to The Football League when they visit Scunthorpe United for what manager Justin Edinburgh reckons will be their toughest Sky Bet League 2 test to date.
Twenty five years after their relegation into non-league and a subsequent liquidation followed by a 1989 re-birth, the aptly nicknamed Exiles have bounced back in style as they look to re-establish themselves as a League club.
Two wins and a draw from four league games, plus an excellent Capital One Cup win at Championship club Brighton & Hove Albion and a brave display at Premier League West Bromwich Albion in Tuesday's Cup defeat, suggest the aim can be achieved.
But manager Edinburgh, who led his team back into The League via the Conference Play-Offs, is biding his time before making any claims as to what kind of mark County may be able to make in their new environment.
"I'm absolutely delighted with the start we've made in League and Cup," Edinburgh told football-league.co.uk, "but until we've played 15 games or so in League 2 we won't really know the level of the division."
As he prepares to cross swords with Scunthorpe boss Brian Laws, who as a player he faced several times when he was at Tottenham Hotspur and Laws at Nottingham Forest, Edinburgh is expecting a difficult Saturday afternoon.
He said: "Scunthorpe were a lot of people's favourites for promotion going into the season and I feel that this is going to be our toughest league game so far. We'll go there with confidence, but we'll have to be at our best to get a result.
"If we can do that it will be another little boost on the way towards hopefully maintaining our League status - that was our aim from the moment we got promoted and that's what we'll do everything we can to achieve.
"It's a big step up from the Conference to The Football League, but the players have adjusted really well. I've kept 15 from last season's squad because I felt they could make the step up, and they've continued the momentum.
"We lost only one of our last 12 games last season, and the confidence we gained from that run has grown through not just the results we've had in the last few weeks but also in the manner of the performances we've produced.
"We took a lot from winning our first game 4-1 against Accrington and then knocking Brighton out of the Capital One Cup, and even in the game we lost 3-1 at Northampton we played well and deserved a lot more than we got.
"We also competed well at West Brom and although we lost we earned some plaudits. We now have to aim to be competitive in League 2, and if we maintain the quality and work ethic we've shown so far then we can do that."
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