Hatters Nathan Jones hailed the job that Newport County manager Michael Flynn has done to turn his side from relegation battlers to play-off challengers this season.
The Exiles stayed up by the skin of their teeth last season, when Flynn masterminded a stunning last day escape, courtesy of former Hatter Mark O’Brien’s late goal.
They have made a far better start to the campaign this time round, sitting in seventh place, level on points with Town ahead of their trip to Kenilworth Road this afternoon.
Jones said: “He did remarkably to keep them up, but that’s what a bit of belief does, players working hard for you and that’s what he got.
“They’re a very difficult side to play against and this year they’ve carried that momentum on.
“They’ve recruited well as those who have come in have hit the ground running.
“Good luck to them, he’s a good lad, he was that type of player anyway, a very committed player, and he’s got his side doing that, so he’s doing well.”
After Newport’s 2-1 win at Crawley Town on Tuesday night, Red Devils boss Harry Kewell was heavily critical of the Exiles’ tactics, telling the South Wales Argus: “We fell into the trap of they’re hoofing the ball so we’ll hoof the ball. It gets you nowhere.
"They know what they are good at and hats off to them, they played the game well and we got sucked into it."
However, when asked if he felt that County were long ball merchants, Jones said: “Not as such, they have a threat, they have a set-play threat, they have long throws, they scored two against them (Crawley).
“I wouldn’t be as disrespectful to say that Newport are a long ball side, they have a physicality about them that we’re going to need to match.
“He’s done a wonderful job there Flynny in terms of turning them from where they were last year into where they are now, so it’s going to be a tough game.
“But every game at this level is going to be a tough game, it’s just some are more physically robust and put you under certain pressure, every game is a new test.”