CAPTAIN Matty Dolan is confident that Newport County AFC are on the up despite suffering disappointment in their push for the play-offs.

The Exiles will be in League Two next season after their form dipped in the run-in to scupper another promotion challenge.

James Rowberry’s side have taken just four points from their last seven games and can no longer sneak into the top seven.

County suffered controversial Wembley defeats in 2019 and 2021 but this season will not be extended.

It has been a season of change with club legend Michael Flynn leaving at the end of September with James Rowberry taking over in mid-October, his first managerial role after being a coach at Cardiff City.

Dolan, player of the season in 2020/21, has spent five campaigns in Newport and stresses that strides have been made despite recent disappointment.

South Wales Argus:

“We have been play-off contenders, top of the table contenders,” said midfielder/defender Dolan, who was appointed club captain last summer.

“No disrespect to previous times but the club has not been there, a top-end League Two side or promotion-pushing side.

“That’s what we have created. With that comes pressure so we have to deal with that.

“The club is now geared up to be at the top end of League Two, it’s progressed. Take a step back from it all and you see we have progressed on and off the pitch.”

Flynn went agonisingly close to promotion twice when beaten in controversial circumstances by Tranmere and Morecambe at Wembley.

He left 12 games into the season and is now embracing a fresh challenge at Walsall while Rowberry has come in pledging “evolution not revolution”.

“Every manager brings their own things and the gaffer has progressed the club again,” said Dolan.

“Flynny took the club from 22nd in the table after staying up on the last day to two Wembley finals and the FA Cup runs.

“He did it in his own way and the manager is doing it in his. He is meticulous, forward-thinking, positive and the club are lucky to have someone like him.”

County travel to Port Vale on Monday (kick-off 3pm) before trying to end a run of four home defeats when Rochdale visit Rodney Parade on final day.