SCOT Bennett feared having to move house this summer but now he intends to make himself at home in Newport County AFC's XI after the Exiles' late turnabout.

The 29-year-old Cornishman made his first appearance of the season when the Exiles upset Watford in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday.

His 155th outing for the club was one that didn't look likely this summer when he was released by the club.

The coronavirus pandemic left County unable to offer fresh contracts, so Bennett had to be shown the door despite being a key member of Michael Flynn's squad.

Like Jamille Matt, who signed for Forest Green Rovers, the versatile defender/midfielder was exploring his options when his phone rang with the good news that the Exiles' financial position had improved.

READ MORE: How Bennett was hunting for a club after Exiles exit

South Wales Argus:

"It was a bit of a shock. I was looking around and got a call two days before the lads were due to come back in for pre-season," said Bennett.

"The gaffer mentioned that he wanted to try and get something done. He asked me to come to pre-season on the Monday and have a chat about a contract, and once I spoke to him it was made up.

"I didn't have to do anything, I didn't need to move and the family were settled, so I was happy to get it done.

"There was a lot of uncertainty and a lot of worry, wondering what was going to be next, but a big weight was lifted off my shoulders."

From the frustration of initially not getting a County deal to the frustration of spending the start of the campaign on the sidelines.

A bump in a tackle in the final pre-season fixture at Hereford led to Bennett missing the Carabao Cup wins against Swansea and Cambridge, the EFL Trophy encounter with Cheltenham and the League Two opener at Scunthorpe.

"I woke up the next morning and my knee was swollen," said Bennett, who was an unused sub against Barrow last weekend. "I had a scan and it revealed I had done some damage to my MCL (medial collateral ligament).

"It was disappointing the week before the start of the season but it was nice to get back out there against Watford."

South Wales Argus:

Bennett put in an impressive display against the Hornets, getting through plenty of dirty work in the central midfield role that he filled in pre-season training rather than central defence.

"The boys have been on fire at the start of the season and it was frustrating to sit and watch them, but also a pleasure with some of the football that they played," he said.

"It's nice to see people doing so well. You want to be out there playing, because that's your job, but I will always support the lads.

"But it's nice to get out there and do it yourself to show what you can do."

Bennett has fierce competition for a start at the heart of the team with in-form Josh Sheehan, captain Joss Labadie and Robbie Willmott also in the mix.

Flynn has changed with his team around so far this season and that will continue given the Exiles' hectic schedule.

South Wales Argus:

"He has said from the start that we have all got to buy into it this year. There will be times when he has to tinker with the side and move people in and out," said Bennett.

"There are so many games coming quickly, especially with the cup run, so there will not be a lot of time to rest in between.

"It's going to be a season when we need every single player so we have to stay together, there can be no sulking if you're not in the team, you have to support your teammates and take your chance when it comes."

Flynn will reveal his next line-up at 2pm on Saturday in Bolton with County attempting to pick up where they left off against Watford against a Wanderers club that was playing UEFA Cup football in 2007/8.

"The games come thick and fast," said Bennett. "It was a great result but we can't rest on our laurels, we have to move on and hopefully pick up three points.

"It's nuts to think that Bolton are in League Two with that stadium, it will be a great place to go to but it's just a shame it won't be packed with fans."