NEWPORT County AFC's young prospects have been told to be ready to make the big step up to League Two action by manager James Rowberry because of coronavirus.

The Exiles' Boxing Day clash with Forest Green Rovers at Rodney Parade has been postponed because the visitors have had a Covid outbreak.

The pandemic is stretching squads and the EFL have set out guidelines that clubs should play if they have 14 available senior players.

Rowberry knows that he may need to lean on the academy to fill his bench and he included defender Joe Woodiwiss and Wales U17s midfielder Sonny Lewis, who are yet to make their League Two debuts, in his matchday 18 against Rochdale.

South Wales Argus: PROSPECT: County teenager Sonny LewisPROSPECT: County teenager Sonny Lewis

"It was good for Sonny and Joe to be involved. Sonny was very good when he trained with us on the Wednesday before Rochdale, so I felt that he deserved an opportunity to travel with us and be part of it," said the manager.

"Sonny has real potential, it's just on-field and off-field coaching that he needs to get to the levels that I believe he can get to."

Previous boss Michael Flynn gave a raft of prospects a taste of senior football in the EFL Trophy and League Cup, while midfielder Aneurin Livermore earned a shot in the league until injury and unavailability.

The likes of defender Harrison Bright, midfielders Lewys Twamley and Jack Karadogan and forward Ryan Hillier could have to answer an SOS along with defender Louis Hall and striker Jordan Greenidge, who were signed last summer to feature predominantly for the development team.

South Wales Argus: INCLUSIVE: County boss James RowberryINCLUSIVE: County boss James Rowberry

"I keep saying about one club, one County and I am not just saying it as a strapline, I am saying it because everybody is important," said Rowberry. "The academy do realise their importance to what we are trying to do at this club."

County were without forwards Alex Fisher and Lewis Collins at Rochdale after they had been without Dom Telford against Sutton United.

Clubs are getting used to being without individuals because of positive tests but also recognise the need to ease some back in.

"Potentially we have three or four players who are going to come back but not train for a period of time, physically that's not right," said Rowberry.

County is scheduled to travel to Leyton Orient on Wednesday and Walsall on New Year's Day.