NEWPORT County AFC are braced for a lengthy spell without lynchpin Scot Bennett in the side after his serious injury against Northampton.

The 30-year-old Cornishman has been mainstay of the Exiles’ starting line-up since arriving in 2016.

He has racked up 241 appearances for the club – 219 of them starts – but is likely to have a long wait until his 242nd.

Bennett landed awkwardly on his left ankle when defending a cross in the 1-0 defeat to Northampton on Tuesday night.

His teammates quickly signalled for medical attention and after lengthy treatment he was stretchered off with his lower leg in a brace.

The full extent of the damage will become clear in coming days but, if the concern shown on the pitch is anything to go by, manager Michael Flynn is likely to get bad news.

South Wales Argus: BLOW: Mickey Demetriou consoles Scot BennettBLOW: Mickey Demetriou consoles Scot Bennett

“It summed the evening up because he is key player for us,” said the boss after the poor performance in the 1-0 defeat. “It will be a massive loss because he was one of a small few that I can rely on.”

Bennett was a leading figure in last season’s push for promotion when playing predominantly in midfield and was controversially denied a penalty in the play-off final defeat to Morecambe at Wembley.

After signing a fresh two-year deal in the summer he started the current campaign strongly, both in midfield next to Ed Upson and when at the heart of a defensive three.

Bennett scored the opening goal in the 2-2 draw at Harrogate last Friday and has started in eight of 10 fixtures, only sitting out the Carabao Cup win at Ipswich and EFL Trophy success against Plymouth.

County must now find another player to slot into midfield alongside Ed Upson, who was badly missed against the Cobblers because of a sickness bug.

Teenager Aneurin Livermore and Liverpool loanee Jake Cain made their first EFL starts on Tuesday while Chris Missilou and Finn Azaz are other options.

Captain Matty Dolan previously played in midfield but is now seen primarily as a central defender.

County went through last season without any serious injuries but are already without attacker Courtney Senior, who ruptured knee ligaments in pre-season.

Bennett is set to join him on the long-term injury list, leaving Flynn with a problem to solve at the heart of the side.