THE thrill of a successful chase is focusing Newport County AFC minds now that they are being chased in the tight League Two play-off race, says striker Padraig Amond.

The Exiles are seventh in the table with four games left but will be overtaken by Exeter, and possibly also Salford, if they are beaten in a huge game in Devon on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

County were top of the table in January and have been in the play-off places for almost all of the season but are involved in a scrap that will go to the wire.

It was the same in 2019 when they won six and drew four of their last 10 to sneak into seventh before beating Mansfield in the semi-finals and being controversially denied by Tranmere at Wembley.

The core of County players who were at Rodney Parade two years ago are hammering home to the new contingent what needs to be done, but are also warning them about the chasing pack.

Padraig Amond of Newport County.

Padraig Amond of Newport County.

"We've had that conversation and equally told the lads we've been in the position Salford and Crawley have been in," said Amond. "We've been the ones making the late surge so we know it can be done.

"You see it every year with someone coming with a late surge. It's a big, big push for the last four games to make sure we make the play-offs, and nobody wants to come to Rodney Parade in a play-off game.

"We need to get in there first and our focus is fully on Exeter this weekend. We're looking forward to that game.

"It's every game as it comes. We're not looking at two or three games time or anything like that. You can try to be really clever about things and make a mess of it – you see it all the time.

"If we look after number one, we won't have to look behind us. If we take three points, we don't really have to look at the table."

The clash with Exeter is a huge one with Grecians boss Matt Taylor declaring it must-win for the hosts.

"At this stage of the season you always want to be playing for something. There is nothing worse than playing for nothing with four games left of the season," said Amond.

"With no fans there is no atmosphere and you have to generate that yourself, but Saturday's game doesn't need any building up. We're ready for the battle and they're a really, really good side.

"We saw that when they came here and went down to nine men and were really resilient. We had to score late on and what an important goal that is now when you look at the league table.

"It's a game everyone is looking forward to and we can't wait for it already."

OFFSIDE: Padraig Amond was denied by the flag against Crawley

OFFSIDE: Padraig Amond was denied by the flag against Crawley

Amond has been County's top scorer in every season since signing from Hartlepool in 2017, bagging 13 league goals in his first campaign, 15 in the second and 8 in the curtailed 2019/20.

The club legend could retain that perfect record, albeit with a disappointing tally.

Amond, penalty taker Matty Dolan and Scott Twine, who returned to Swindon in January, are all setting the pace on just six.

"Of course it upsets every striker when they're not scoring, but there is a bigger picture as well," said the 33-year-old Irishman, who has scored just once since the turn of the year.

"It's four games left of the season and it doesn't make any difference who scores the goals. It doesn't matter if it goes in off someone, someone toe-pokes it in, or someone scores from 30 yards – it's all irrelevant.

"You can win 6-0 or 1-0, it's still three points, although points difference does come into it which is why the second goal against Crawley could be key.

"I just want to keep playing well and do a shift for the team. If we keep doing that, we'll be in a good place."

If County do the business then they will extend the strangest of seasons beyond the last-day trip to Southend.

Padraig Amond of Newport County.

Padraig Amond of Newport County.

Clubs have got used to coronavirus protocols and games behind closed doors while lockdown has had its perks for Amond and partner Caoimhe after an August arrival.

"We've had little baby Eoghan and bought a new house in Newport right at the beginning of it," he said.

"It's been exciting for us and from a selfish point of view it's been great with both of us being home all the time.

"Having so much time with Eoghan has been brilliant. The other side of that is he hasn't got to meet any of his family yet. That's a little bit difficult, but hopefully things can relax soon.

"We're all constantly on FaceTime and he's starting to recognise people now. My missus is from the same place as me back home and we've enjoyed the time watching him grow every day."

Now the aim is to ensure Eoghan is watching his father in League One next season.