NEWPORT County AFC are hopeful that their injury list will be shorter when they return from their brief break in League Two.

The Exiles have a blank weekend after Wales call-ups for Josh Sheehan, Tom King, Brandon Cooper and Aaron Lewis led to their fixture at Grimsby being postponed.

County are next in action when they entertain Port Vale a week on Saturday, the first of three Rodney Parade games on the spin with Walsall heading to Newport the following Tuesday before the FA Cup round two meeting with Salford City.

Manager Michael Flynn has frequently said that their hopes of a promotion push will be shaped by fortune with injuries in the condensed season.

County haven't been stretched too badly so far with competition for places playing a big part in their superb start to the season.

However, the Exiles have been without defenders David Longe-King and Kyle Howkins, midfielder Lewis Collins and strikers Ryan Taylor (pictured below) and Saikou Janneh in recent weeks, then wing-back Liam Shephard and midfielder Joss Labadie suffered niggles.

South Wales Argus:

Flynn hopes to have a smaller contingent in the treatment room when they gear up for a return to action next week after a graded return for injured players.

"This is a welcome break because I am hoping to have a good load of them back for the Port Vale game," said the manager.

"There are a good few who have been out a while who have stepped up their rehab and they are looking strong. Whether or not they will be ready for Port Vale we will have to wait and see.

"The players will have a few days off and will then be ready to go again."

Centre-back Longe-King signed from St Albans City in the summer but was denied an immediate chance to show he can step up to the EFL by a pre-season groin injury.

Flynn, who described it as a "freak incident" in training, said at the start of September that the initial return date was 12 weeks.

Fellow defender Kyle Howkins started the season impressively, featuring in four of the first five fixtures, but suffered a hamstring injury and was given a November target for a comeback.

Striker Taylor, who settled nicely after a summer move from Plymouth, has been missing since the win against Mansfield at the start of October because of a hamstring injury and hopes to be back before the end of 2020.

Midfielder Collins was pushing for first team action after a promising start to the season but was sidelined when he damaged ankle ligaments when making his Wales Under-21s debut against Belgium at the start of October. His estimated absence was a month.

South Wales Argus:

Janneh, signed on loan from Bristol City in the summer, broke into the XI to form a lively partnership with Tristan Abrahams.

The 20-year-old (pictured above) scored the winner against Tranmere but pulled up with a hamstring injury when chasing a long ball against Bradford City at Valley Parade. Flynn said at the end of October that he expected to be without the forward for a month.

Captain Labadie sat out the FA Cup win against Leyton Orient after coming off in the first half of the League Two loss at Carlisle with a hamstring strain.

Influential wing-back Shephard came off in the second half of the win against Harrogate with a knee issue and sat out the Carlisle and Orient fixtures.