IN December it looked like there would be a glut of contenders for Newport County AFC’s player of the season but that has been whittled down despite the Exiles making the play-offs.

Defender Brandon Cooper and attacking midfielder Scott Twine made a huge impact at Rodney Parade to help the club set the pace in League Two before being called back to Swansea and Swindon respectively.

Playmaker Josh Sheehan and wing-back Liam Shephard shone brightly before being impacted by the deterioration of the Rodney Parade pitch.

Heading into the run-in, midfielder-turned-defender Matty Dolan looked a cert to have the honour of County’s player of the year thanks to his consistently strong displays.

The 28-year-old was pivotal in the change of style when playing out from the back while he also did the dirty work.

But with Dolan out of the side because of a concussion suffered against Carlisle, another dependable defender came to the fore – stalwart Mickey Demetriou.

DOMINANT: Newport defender Mickey Demetriou climbs above Boltons Eoin Doyle to clear

DOMINANT: Newport defender Mickey Demetriou climbs above Bolton's Eoin Doyle to clear

The 31-year-old was the unsung member of the central three in the first half of the campaign while Dolan and Cooper caught the eye.

Demetriou had a little dip in form and saw red against Barrow that meant he lost his record as an ever-present through suspension.

He sat out the win against Bolton but came straight back into the side and upped his game to help County finish fifth.

When named their League Two team of the season on Wednesday, Demetriou was on the left of defence and the sole Exile.

Granted, eyebrows were raised at the absence of any players from champions Cheltenham while official player of the season Paul Mullin missed out despite scoring an incredible 32 goals.

However, the team is a reflection of consistent performances with "ratings comprised of over 200 raw statistics".

STARS: Whoscored.coms League Two team of the season

STARS:'s League Two team of the season

“A towering presence at both ends of the pitch, Demetriou won more aerial duels (315) than any other defender,” said the announcement.

“Only three players scored more headed goals than the Newport centre-back (three) and he'll look to continue this aerial dominance for the play-offs.”

Demetriou has played in 52 games this season and brought up his double century for the club in April.

He has helped the Exiles have the fourth best defensive record in the division with just 42 goals conceded in 46 games, while goalkeepers Nick Townsend and Tom King kept 17 clean sheets.

Demetriou also scored a double against Scunthorpe and the crucial leveller in Southend to help secure a place in the play-offs.

GOAL: Newports Mickey Demetriou powered home a header against Scunthorpe

GOAL: Newport's Mickey Demetriou powered home a header against Scunthorpe

“Mickey has come up with some really vital moments over the last four of five weeks, he has played out of his skin," said King.

"We need three more big performances from him and we will be right where we want to be."

Demetriou had an afternoon to forget at Barrow, when he was at fault for the goals in the 2-1 loss before seeing red.

"That's what good pros do, they bounce back after a dodgy spell, which is what Mickey had," said Flynn last month. "He showed his professionalism and his desire to do well."

Demetriou helped County stay in League Two in 2017 when he scored the first goal against Notts County but now the aim is to enjoy a great escape to League One. League Two best XI: Hladky (Salford), A O'Connor (Bradford), P O'Connor (Bradford), Demetriou (County), Touray (Salford), Thomson (Harrogate), Guy (Carlisle), Conlon (Port Vale), Hoolahan (Cambridge), Vaughan (Tranmere), Matt (Forest Green).

Official League Two XI: Hladky (Salford), Knoyle (Cambridge), Boyle (Cheltenham), Tunnicliffe (Crawley), Touray (Salford), Worrall (Port Vale), Hoolahan (Cambridge), Sarcevic (Bolton), Hussey (Cheltenham), Jay (Exeter), Mullin (Cambridge). Manager: Duff (Cheltenham).