A SUMMER quote from Dean Ryan has come to mind when watching his fellow Rodney Parade boss Michael Flynn enjoy an excellent start to the season.

Dragons director of rugby Ryan has made no secret of his need to improve the depth of his squad since heading through the door in 2019.

The challenges of his first campaign in the hotseat only strengthened that desire, with the former England forward adding to his options through both recruitment and development.

"Competition is great. I have never in any time in the last 20 years shifted a player through coaching as much as competition does," said the experienced Ryan.

"Us getting stronger in more positions is exactly where I want the Dragons to be. Selection being difficult is a great place to be."

Sadly, sportsdesk squad depth is now depleted at the Argus and as a result I have the task of covering both the Dragons and County.

Thankfully, I haven't yet confused Padraig Amond with Rhodri Williams in the 9 jersey or west Walian 10s Josh Sheehan and Sam Davies when flitting between Carabao Cup against Cambridge, to Bristol Bears in European Challenge Cup to League Two against Barrow.

Fusion restaurants are generally terrible and half and half is a disgrace, so I appreciate his hybrid column is a tad risky but there has been a major crossover theme when covering the Exiles in the early days of 2020/21.

County have been superb so far – six games and six fine performances.

Flynn and his coaching staff not only have the squad well drilled but they have them playing lovely football.

That will be more of a challenge when the weather turns and pitches suffer, an issue that isn't limited to Rodney Parade, but that's a problem that can be addressed down the line.

They have hit the ground running after their lengthy lay-off and while six games is a small sample size, the County manager has got a consistent level of performance despite making changes.

So far he has given starts to 21 players, a figure that will increase to 23 when new recruits Kevin Ellison and Bradley Webb eventually get their chances.

South Wales Argus:

Flynn has tinkered with the team and been rewarded with strong displays from those coming in. There is yet to be an occasion where the decision to bench a player has looked to be a mistake.

He has made it clear to his squad that they all have to play their part in a long and hectic 2020/21 – by all means be angry at missing out but don't mope because the Exiles cannot afford to carry any energy sappers.

It's one thing to say that a team has selection headaches and another to then make changes and enjoy the same level of performance.

Injuries may well cause this enjoyable situation to end but at the moment there isn't an established County first XI.

There have been several key figures so far – Josh Sheehan pulling the strings, Ryan Haynes down the left and Liam Shephard down the right – but everyone else has been interchangeable.

The ability to keep your own players guessing ahead of team announcements is as valuable as keeping the opposition manager waiting until an hour before kick-off to see who is lining up.

If County can stay fit then there is no reason why they can't challenge for League One, as striker Ryan Taylor suggested last week after joining the Exiles following Plymouth's promotion.

It's competition rather than a handful of individuals that will shape County's season over 46 games in 34 weeks, and the same applies for the Dragons.

Rotation will be a necessary evil in a testing schedule with Ryan having to plan ahead to keep all his options available rather than on the treatment table.

South Wales Argus:

The management will already be nervously looking at the period from late October to early December that will deprive them of Wales stars Nick Tompkins, Jonah Holmes, Elliot Dee, Leon Brown, Aaron Wainwright and Ross Moriarty plus potentially Ashton Hewitt, Taine Basham and Sam Davies.

Test players will go straight from that international period into two rounds of Champions Cup action, then three festive derby fixtures, then two more Champions Cup games.

It's going to be brutal and we cannot expect the Dragons to field their first XV that looks so good on paper week in, week out.

In the past the deputies haven't hit the standards of those ahead of them in the pecking order but that needs to change if the region are to build on their encouraging first season under Ryan.

Rhodri Williams needs to be pushed harder at scrum-half while Josh Lewis will hopefully end the reliance on Sam Davies.

Greg Bateman and Aaron Jarvis must put the heat on Brok Harris and Leon Brown, Josh Reynolds and Ellis Shipp have to continue to progress.

Ryan must be able to slot in Jared Rosser for Holmes, Owen Jenkins for Hewitt without the threat out wide being diminished.

It's not just because I'm new to being a County regular that I couldn't name their strongest back three or most potent forward line.

In the early days of 2020/21 it doesn't exist. The Exiles players have been interchangeable and they could well have a season to remember if it stays that way.

That is a situation that the Dragons must match if they are to move onto their next stage of Ryan's rebuild.