NEWPORT County boss Justin Edinburgh has warned his players that they are playing for their futures between now and the end of the season.
The Exiles are continuing to slide down League Two and Saturday’s 2-1 reverse to Portsmouth means they’ve won only two of their last 17 league games.
And while some important draws have made it unlikely Newport will become embroiled in a relegation battle, Edinburgh is aware of the need to finish the campaign strongly.
“Without a doubt there is still a lot at stake for all of us, myself, the football club and we’ll maintain our standards and our levels, we want to finish as high as we possibly can.
“Players’ contracts are up and they’ve got to work hard to earn a living as a Football League player.
“Now we need to finish as strongly as we can and try and gain as many points as we can for our highest finish in 25-years and the first back in the Football League.
“The League table won’t lie at the end of the season, our budget doesn’t lie, the club as a whole doesn’t lie, we are sitting in a very good position, Northampton and Torquay would take it right now!
“In general the players have given everything they’ve got.
“But there are still players I am undecided on. As a manager I see things, off the field, training every day and there is a lot to take into consideration.
“We are already planning for next season and assessing things and we will make the decisions when we feel it is necessary.”
One player who will be around next term is striker Shaun Jeffers who hasn’t been given much time to shine since joining from Peterborough in January as part of the Conor Washington deal.
However, after an encouraging cameo on Saturday he’s hoping for more game time in the coming weeks.
“I’ve been working hard, working on my game and waiting for my chance to show everyone what I can do,” he said.
“I’m happy to get a few minutes, unfortunately we didn’t get a result but it’s hard when you go down to nine men.
“I thought we showed great character to get a goal back and we could have got a draw in the end.
Jeffers is enjoying life at Rodney Parade despite County’s poor form.
“It’s always difficult when you come to a new club to try and establish yourself,” he said.
“I am delighted to be here with a great bunch of lads and we are going to keep working hard to finish as high up the league as we can.
“I am enjoying it here. The support was great, you could hear the fans all the time.
“It helps spur us on and I am delighted with how the fans supported us.
“Hopefully we can try and get a result for them in the next game.”
And Jeffers believes an improvement is coming for County.
“For the two games before this we were unbeaten so we have to take each game as they come and see how far we can push up the table at the end of the season,” he said.
“You can move up the league pretty quickly, there are a lot of teams around us and it’s a tight league.
“We are not struggling to stay in the league we are trying to do well and hopefully we can have a good end to the season.”