MATTY Dolan admits he still hasn’t come to terms with defeat in the League Two play-off final in May and he says everyone at Newport County AFC will be using that pain to drive them on to greater success this season.

County kick off the new season this afternoon at home to Mansfield Town, the team they beat in the play-off semi-final thanks to Dolan’s winning penalty in the shootout at Field Mill.

That was the high point of the 2018-2019 campaign for Michael Flynn’s men, but a fantastic season ended on a desperately disappointing note as they were beaten by Tranmere Rovers in extra-time at Wembley.

And that experience will spur on Dolan as the Exiles aim to launch another promotion challenge this afternoon.

“I might get to 60 and still not be over it,” said the midfielder.

“But it’s something that you’ve got to use in a positive manner to spur you on.

“Nobody wants to lose at Wembley, let alone in the circumstances in which it happened, and it’s something that will drive everyone who was involved.

“It will drive the football club on to better things. We’ll always remember it and look to improve.

“And if we ever get into a situation like that again we’ll make sure we’re on the winning side.

South Wales Argus:

“I’ll use it, it hurt a lot,” added Dolan. “It was the lowest point in a great season and the toughest time in my career.

“You’ve got to use it. What’s the saying? A setback is only a set-up for a major comeback.”

Dolan has far better memories of that semi-final win over Mansfield and he expects the Stags to be seeking retribution at Rodney Parade today.

“Over the two legs I think we deserved it and the performance on the night was fantastic from everyone,” said the 26-year-old.

“We got what we deserved on that night, but they’ll come down with a point to prove.

“They’re a big club in this division. They’ve spent a lot of money in the last three years and they’ll be looking to do better than they did last year.

“It’s a good club, but we’ve made our improvements as well.

“You could say there’s a bit of a rivalry. They’ve always been tough competitors in this division.

“They’ve been there or thereabouts, but we won’t focus too much on them.

“What’s happened in the past has happened but we’ll look to go out there and deliver a performance that will be worthy of three points.”

South Wales Argus:

Dolan, who signed a new two-year contract this summer, will be competing with Scot Bennett, Josh Sheehan, Joss Labadie and new loan signing Taylor Maloney for a starting spot in central midfield today.

“Everyone says competition is healthy in football and it is massive,” he said.

“We’ve got a squad full of quality and everyone has to earn that shirt and fight to keep it.”

Read more: Newport County youngster heads for Torquay United on loan