SCOT Bennett intends to be a central figure in another Newport County AFC promotion challenge after a rapid recovery from an injury that had him fearing the worst.

The defender/midfielder, who turned 31 yesterday, made his return to the Exiles XI at Colchester on Friday ten weeks after he had received lengthy treatment before being stretchered off at Rodney Parade.

Bennett landed awkwardly after a Northampton cross into the box and then striker Nicke Kabamba accidentally trod on his foot.

A long spell on the sidelines seemed inevitable but the utility man was back on the County bench for the game against Swindon last month, nine weeks after the block.

South Wales Argus:

“When I landed on my foot and felt the injury, I was a little bit worried,” admitted Bennett.

“Once we got the news that it was just the metatarsal [that was broken], I was positive and it’s been good to get back out there.

“We got quite lucky that there wasn’t any serious ligament damage and that it was just a break.

“It was just one of those unfortunate things. I landed a bit funny and he came down on my foot, which gave it a little twist and that was when the bones cracked.

“It was one of the longest spells that I have been out for. I was happy that the boys were doing well but frustrated that I couldn’t help.

“It’s good to be back now and I am looking forward to getting my head down and being played when I am needed.”

A lot happened in his absence with Michael Flynn leaving County, Wayne Hatswell holding the reins as interim manager and then James Rowberry taking over.

Bennett has established himself as a key figure since 2016, racking up 242 appearances (220 starts), but now he has a new boss to impress.

South Wales Argus: BACK: Scot Bennett warming up in ColchesterBACK: Scot Bennett warming up in Colchester

“We were all disappointed to see the old gaffer go but it has freshened the place up,” he said.

“The intensity in training has gone up a bit and it’s enjoyable at the minute because we are riding the wave and going well.

“We’ve got to keep that momentum going and pick up points. We were a little bit disappointed with the draws at Crawley and Colchester because we created enough chances to win both but we are still there or thereabouts so just need to keep it going.”

County sit just outside the play-off spots and enjoy this weekend off because of their FA Cup exit before starting the manic December block with a home game against Sutton on Tuesday.

“We’ve got a block off and then it’s into the Christmas period when it’s non-stop,” said Bennett.

“It’s been nice to have a couple of days of recovery after the boys had a few long journeys before getting our heads down and going again.

“I will be training hard and picking up the fitness that I need because it was nice to be back out there at Colchester and get some minutes. I didn’t feel as sharp as I should have been but 10 weeks off is going to do that to you.

“It’s tough in League Two, the games come quickly and everyone in the squad will be needed, so we have to stay fit and switched on.”

It would be a surprise if dependable and versatile Bennett is not as important to Rowberry as he was to Flynn.