NEWPORT County AFC manager James Rowberry is considering freshening up his side for the vital trip to play-off rivals Sutton United this afternoon.

The Exiles head to Gander Green Lane (kick-off 3pm) needing at least a point to stay in the mix for the top seven of League Two after a costly 2-1 loss to Crawley at Rodney Parade on Good Friday.

County are eighth in the table and realistically need at least three wins from their last four games, with home games against Colchester and Rochdale either side of a trip to third-placed Port Vale after Sutton.

Rowberry's side have taken just four points from their last five games while seventh-placed Sutton are fresh from a superb 3-1 win that ended Mansfield's 11-game winning streak at Field Mill.

Rob Street is pushing for a start after the Crystal Palace striker made an impression off the bench against Crawley, albeit he missed a glorious chance to equalise.

Centre-back Josh Pask could be an option to freshen up the defence after the Coventry loanee's recovery from a hamstring strain while the experienced Ryan Haynes, Matty Dolan and Kevin Ellison were also unused subs.

South Wales Argus: County boss James RowberryCounty boss James Rowberry

"In your mind anyway, playing another game in such a short space of time meant we had to make changes irrelevant of the result," said Rowberry.

"We have to go and play against a team on form who have a style that has been very effective. Matt Gray has done a terrific job at Sutton.

"They have come up from the National League and he has got them to the EFL Trophy final and fighting for the play-offs.

"He has done a remarkable job and we will pay them the respect that they deserve."

County won a remarkable game against Sutton 3-2 when the teams met in December after falling 2-0 behind in the first half.

Dangerman David Ajiboye scored superb solo strikes after 23 and 41 minutes either side of a red card for Sutton captain Craig Eastmond for a reckless tackle on Robbie Willmott.

Lewis Collins got County back into it with a stunning strike from distance early in the second half then Courtney Baker-Richardson levelled with a scruffy strike with half an hour to go.

It looked like the Exiles would have to settle for a third draw on the spin but then they were awarded a penalty when Jake Cain was wrestled to the ground in time added on and captain Matty Dolan kept his cool for a win.

"We have to be effective in winning first contacts and second balls. We have to defend our box better than we did against Crawley, and we will," said Rowberry.

"We've got to be aware of the threats that we saw when we played them at Rodney Parade."

Attacking midfielder Ollie Cooper will return to full training soon with the Swansea loanee potentially back for Friday's home clash with Colchester.


Carlisle v Mansfield, Colchester v Bradford, Crawley v Walsall, Forest Green v Oldham, Northampton v Harrogate, Port Vale v Bristol Rovers, Rochdale v Hartlepool, Salford v Barrow, Scunthorpe v Stevenage, Sutton v County, Swindon v Leyton Orient, Tranmere v Exeter.