ASSISTANT manager Jimmy Dack believes the display in defeat at Reading has got Newport County AFC back on track ahead of the trip to Morecambe, writes Andrew Penman.

County, who were roundly criticised for a poor performance as they lost 2-0 at home to Wycombe Wanderers last Saturday, were much improved as they pushed Championship side Reading all the way on Tuesday.

The Royals knocked the Exiles out of the Capital One Cup with a 3-1 win but Dack says the game did the side a lot of good.

“It was tough Monday morning,” said Dack. “The players were angry and frustrated but they got it out of their systems on Tuesday and everyone is in a positive frame of mind now.

“I think the break from the league did us good in a game where there was no pressure on us.

“It was a good lesson for us as well because we said to the players ‘keep the ball or you’re going to be doing a lot of running’ and I think we did that well.”

Manager Justin Edinburgh started with a 5-3-2 formation at the Madejski Stadium after abandoning 4-3-3 in the second half against Wycombe and Dack says the change worked.

“We tweaked the system because on Saturday it just didn’t happen for us,” he said.

“We didn’t see that coming because we’ve done really well in pre-season with a 4-3-3 so it was a little bit of a shock to all of us really.

“But we changed it on Tuesday and retained the ball better and we had more sustained pressure.

“Since we’ve been here we’ve used that 5-3-2 system a lot up until last Christmas and we’ve had a lot of success with it,” he added.

“Going 4-3-3 was a positive thing I thought; the gaffer wanted to have more of a goal threat and we had more forwards on the pitch so you have to applaud him for it.

“But it’s all about balance and when you bake a cake you’ve got to have the right ingredients.”

County should welcome back captain Andy Sandell and striker Chris Zebroski for Saturday’s clash at the Globe Arena.

Midfielder Mike Flynn is out with a hamstring strain and goalkeeper Jamie Stephens is still sidelined but Simon Thomas has now signed a short-term deal and will continue as back-up to number one Lenny Pidgeley.