NEWPORT County AFC striker Chris Zebroski says the players are hurting just as much as the fans as they slide down the League Two table.

Just one win in 13 games has seen the Exiles slip from fourth in late December down to 13th today, just seven points above the relegation zone.

And Zebroski admits that the whole squad was devastated by Tuesday’s 4-1 defeat at Morecambe following Tom Naylor’s red card.

“I’m not going to lie; it did hurt in the changing room on Tuesday,” said the 27-year-old ahead of tomorrow’s home clash with Exeter City, who are just three points above the drop zone.

“It was a long trip home and the gaffer said some honest words but we’ll stick together. We don’t want to be hurting again on Sunday.”

Zebroski knows that nearly all the Exiles players need to earn a new contract between now and the end of the season and he hasn’t given up hope of ending this campaign on a high.

“We’re all playing for our future,” he said. “That is the football world. You never know what is round the corner and we’ve got to put the performances in now.

“My contract is up at the end of the season so we’ll have to sit down then and see what happens.

“We can’t run away from the form, that’s there on paper, but we’re still in a good position and if we win on Sunday we’re back in it (the play-off hunt),” he added.

“Teams around us are not picking up results either so the season is still there for us. We don’t want it to slip away.

“I’m not getting any younger; I’m ambitious and I want success so I don’t want another year going by without it.

“This league is quite open and on their day anyone can beat anyone. We’ve shown we can compete with the sides at the top and we started well but we’ve had a bad run.

“We’ve got to put that right on Sunday because at this stage three points is vital.

“You have bad times in football but if we win on Sunday everything changes and I’m confident we can get out of this little bad patch.

“We’ve got to dig deep and show that we can come out of this stronger.”

Zebroski is top scorer for Justin Edinburgh’s men this season with eight goals despite three months out with a knee injury, and he is desperate to fire County to glory.

“I hope I’m not rested,” he said. “I want to play 90 minutes for every game of the season and score and set up as many goals as I can.

“I was on the couch with the kids for three months but I’ve done my rehab as well and I feel strong.”