FORMER Newport County AFC loan striker Harry McKirdy will be looking to prove a point when he returns to Rodney Parade with Carlisle United this afternoon, according to Exiles striker Padraig Amond.

McKirdy scored once in 13 appearances for County while on loan from Aston Villa last season and was frustrated not to get more game-time.

With fellow front man Nathan Thomas a doubt due to illness, he’s set to start up front against Michael Flynn’s men today having scored four goals in 13 games since moving to Carlisle after being released by Villa in the summer.

And Amond believes McKirdy will be desperate to show the County fans what they are missing.

“Harry’s a good player and knowing him as a character, I think he’ll come back wanting to prove something,” said the Exiles’ top scorer.

“He’ll want to prove that he should have played more last year.

“He was infectious to have around the place last year, he was so lively, and you need characters like that.

“He’s going to go on and have a good career but hopefully this weekend he has a shocker!”

Flynn doesn’t believe McKirdy has anything to prove but he does admit that he could have used him more last season.

“I don’t think Harry’s got a point to prove,” said the manager. “He came here last season and he was unfortunate at times.

“Looking back, maybe I should have given him a bit more game-time.

“He’s a talented player and that’s why I wanted him here but maybe a permanent move for him was a chance to get some consistency and showcase what he can do on a regular basis.”

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McKirdy took great delight in winding up the home fans when he scored in a 2-1 win for Crewe Alexandra at Rodney Parade in 2018 (above) and Flynn doesn’t want to see a repeat this afternoon.

“Winding the fans up is part of his character,” he said. “It’s a good thing to have that confidence when you’re a young lad and we wish him well after this weekend, but we want to keep him quiet against us.”

County start the weekend in sixth position, just two points behind League Two leaders Exeter City, and victory today could see them go top.

But Flynn is taking nothing for granted against 16th-placed Carlisle, who won 1-0 at home to Oldham Athletic last week.

“It’s going to be a very difficult game,” he said. “Carlisle are a good team on the counter and they’ve got a good front three in McKirdy, Nathan Thomas and Olufela Olomola so we need to be switched on.

“It’s going to be a really tough game, but I’m just hoping that we come away with the three points because we’ve got a chance of going top.”

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That would keep the feelgood factor going following last week’s win at Swindon Town and the news that broke on Thursday that Flynn had agreed a new contract, which will run until 2022.

But the Exiles boss has banned his players from talking about promotion and he won’t let anyone get ahead of themselves.

“I will never think I’ve cracked it,” said Flynn. “There are always different challenges you have to face and find answers for – that’s the beauty of football.

“It’s so unpredictable and you never know when an upset is going to happen.

“Each year, you learn more, you get more experienced and it’s always a learning curve.

“We know we over-achieved last season.

“We’ve started well this season and we deserve to be where we are but it’s the beginning of October and we’ve got to make sure we’re consistent for the next four months.

“If we are, that gives us a chance, going into the business-end of the season. If not, we’ll be mid-table.”

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