MATTY Dolan is confident Newport County AFC will be in the League Two promotion mix again next season despite going up against some big clubs.

The Exiles were beaten play-off finalists in 2021 and last year while this season they were in the top three in March before a slump in form ended their hopes of a top-seven finish.

The planning is already well under way for 2022/23 with manager James Rowberry set for a first full campaign at the helm, with the battle for the four promotion spots set to be as fierce as ever.

One of Port Vale and Mansfield will suffer play-off disappointment along with Swindon and Northampton.

County, Tranmere and Salford will aim to push again after missing out on the play-offs while Bradford, Walsall and Rochdale will expect better campaigns.

Gillingham, Doncaster, AFC Wimbledon and Crewe drop down from League One while Stockport are heading up as National League champions, with big-spending Wrexham hoping to join them.

Dolan has experienced Wembley woe twice with County but is confident that the club will be contenders at the top of the table despite the worrying late season implosion that saw them take just seven points from 27.

Newport County stalwart Matty Dolan

Newport County stalwart Matty Dolan

"It will be a tough league but we have always been good with recruitment," said the defender/midfielder. "The manager will have his targets set and his plans in place, he is very thorough in what he does.

"We will need a good summer but there will be 23 other teams saying the same because it will be a competitive league again, and we want to be at the right end of it.

"Because I am in here day-to-day, I get to see the progress that this club has made and we have got to keep progressing.

"We want to achieve promotion, we have been close and that is still the goal for the club. It's a league that is built on good team spirit and solid recruiting."

Dolan is one of 12 players under contract for next season, joined by goalkeepers Nick Townsend and Joe Day, full-backs Cameron Norman and Aaron Lewis, central defenders Mickey Demetriou, James Clarke and Priestley Farquharson, defender/midfielder Scot Bennett, midfielders Robbie Willmott and James Waite and forward Lewis Collins.

Offers have been made to in-demand Dom Telford and his strike partner Courtney Baker-Richardson.

"There is a core that has been here and some young talent coming through like Harrison Bright," said Dolan.

"It's a foundation that we have stuck with for the past few years and then you can add the bits of talent like [loanees] Finn Azaz and Ollie Cooper."