NEWPORT County AFC stalwart Robbie Willmott has sympathy for the rest of League Two’s midfielders when they go up against the youthful exuberance of Ollie Cooper and Finn Azaz.

The Exiles are preparing for a return to action in League Two on Saturday, after games with Forest Green Rovers and Leyton Orient were called off.

Covid-permitting, County head to Walsall on New Year’s Day with loanees Cooper and Azaz likely to be key figures.

The duo have impressed since arriving from Swansea and Aston Villa respectively with manager James Rowberry asking them to set the tone as an energetic partnership since taking the helm in mid-October.

Cooper and Azaz have joined forces as attacking midfielders with Willmott behind them in a holding role.

Not only are they having an impact on the ball – Cooper has eight assists and a goal while Azaz has scored three and provided one direct assist – but they are hustling without it.

South Wales Argus: INFLUENTIAL: County midfielder Robbie WillmottINFLUENTIAL: County midfielder Robbie Willmott

“My position is to sit in midfield and make sure we are solid,” said Willmott. “Being behind them, it's great to watch.

“In a way you feel sorry for the opposition midfielders because they have great legs, get around the pitch but also have that quality in the final third. It's a joy to watch for me.”

County suffered a 3-0 defeat at Rochdale last time out but stalwart Willmott is hopeful that the club’s climb up the table won’t be derailed by familiar winter woes.

“I feel the squad is different this year and it helps when you have Dom Telford and Courtney Baker-Richardson in form up front, we are starting to see the best of Finn and Ollie,” he said.

“We have a really good mix of youth and experience this year, and the youth side really helps because they are playing with no fear at the moment. That will really help us in this period, but all we can do is take it game by game.”