KEVIN Ellison has urged Newport County AFC's players on the fringe to stay ready for action, with a new manager giving them a chance to force their way in from the cold.

The Exiles head to Exeter City in League Two on Saturday and caretaker boss Wayne Hatswell is likely to name a settled side.

Last weekend he named the same starters that beat Scunthorpe 3-0 for the fixture against Bradford City, which ended 0-0 despite a superb display by County against a team tipped for promotion.

The club's fringe players got their chance to impress on Tuesday against Arsenal U21s in the EFL Trophy with Ellison captaining a team that also featured senior players Nick Townsend, Aaron Lewis, Chris Missilou, Lewis Collins and Jermain Hylton.

The young Gunners strike twice late on to steal a 4-3 win but the skipper hailed a useful exercise at Rodney Parade.

OPPORTUNITY: Kevin Ellison captained County in the EFL Trophy loss to Arsenal U21s

OPPORTUNITY: Kevin Ellison captained County in the EFL Trophy loss to Arsenal U21s

"It's about being ready for when you do get a chance in the league and for games like Tuesday your attitude has to be spot-on," said Ellison, who has made three appearances off the bench in the league and scored the late winner at Oldham.

"The most important thing is getting minutes under your best for when the chance comes for the first time.

"There is going to be a new manager coming through the door and that was a chance for lads to impress who have not been playing lately."

Those on the outside have a prime example of how quickly things can change up front.

Dom Telford looked set to leave County but stayed to fight for a place, scored in the EFL Trophy win against Plymouth and has since netted twice in League Two.

"I have a laugh and a joke with him because he was dead in the water! He wasn't in the squad then all of a sudden got his chance, scored and has gone on to score a couple more," said Ellison.

"He is back as one of the main strikers now, so people have to look at that because when you are not in the squad you can beat yourself up and it can get disheartening.

"But you have to be mentally right and ready for when the chance comes because a week is a long time in football.

"If you feel you are not fit enough and that you are not getting enough from the training ground then go away and do stuff yourself.

"That is what you have to do in professional football because when the chance does come you want to grab that shirt and keep it."

OPPORTUNITY: Kevin Ellison captained County in the EFL Trophy loss to Arsenal U21s

OPPORTUNITY: Kevin Ellison captained County in the EFL Trophy loss to Arsenal U21s

Ellison hopes to keep his spot on County's bench in Exeter but the 42-year-old is also starting life as a coach with the club's development team.

The young talent have gone up against Yeovil and Cefn Druids but things went up a notch in midweek against Arsenal for Joe Woodiwiss, Louis Hall, Aneurin Livermore, Jake Cain and Jordan Greenidge.

"It was more like a first-team game than under-23s behind closed doors," said Ellison. "Games like that will only help them progress and develop into better players.

"It was a good advert for football and our starting XI had not been playing regularly, which showed in the second half when Arsenal were sharp and popping the ball around in one-twos.

"We were half a second or a yard behind them and that was down to fitness and nothing else. As a whole, it was pleasing to get some minutes at a good standard.

"We were disappointed with the result but there were some good performances and that's good for us moving forward."