NEWPORT County AFC manager Graham Coughlan is confident that “the penny has dropped” for Kiban Rai after a disciplinary dressing down.

The 18-year-old forward has missed the last two games with a niggle that is also set to keep him out of Saturday’s League Two trip to Mansfield.

However, Coughlan also revealed the teenager from Brecon had “let himself down discipline-wise” by failing to report the injury after being an unused substitute in the FA Cup win against Oldham.

Rai joined the rest of the squad in enjoying rest days when his manager believes he should have started the rehabilitation process with the medical team.

South Wales Argus: County boss Graham Coughlan with Kiban RaiCounty boss Graham Coughlan with Kiban Rai (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“I don’t think that Kiban will train on Friday, so that would rule him out of Saturday,” said Coughlan after Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat to Bristol Rovers in the EFL Trophy.

“He will possibly return early next week. It’s nothing major, he has a small strain that he should have reported.

“He should have come in to see the physio rather than have two days off and he knows where I stand on that. He will miss Saturday but hopefully he will be back amongst us next week.

“Kiban is making the transition [to professional football] and sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. He is learning and will make mistakes, as we all did when coming through.

“He has learnt the hard way but the penny has dropped and the matter is finished, I won’t make a big thing of it and nor will Kiban. We have put it to bed, lesson learnt and we move on.”

Rai has made 12 appearances this season, with two starts in the EFL Trophy, and scored his first professional goal against Premier League Brentford in the Carabao Cup.

County also head to Field Mill without centre-back Matt Baker because of Wales Under-21s duty but were boosted on Tuesday by the return to action of defender James Clarke and striker Seb Palmer-Houlden.

The duo are not ready to be starters after groin and hamstring injuries respectively but they will provide Coughlan with some added bench strength.

South Wales Argus: Newport County academy prospect Alfie YoungNewport County academy prospect Alfie Young (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

The Exiles have recently named academy prospects Nelson Sanca and Alfie Young as substitutes but the manager is reluctant to use them unless absolutely necessary.

The long-term injury list features centre-backs Declan Drysdale (hamstring), Kyle Jameson (groin) and Josh Seberry (broken fibula), left-back Adam Lewis (quad), midfielder Harry Charsley (ankle) and striker Offrande Zanzala (knee).

Midfielder Aaron Wildig has also missed the last two games with a back spasm that is causing hamstring issues.

County are bidding to become the first team to beat Mansfield in League Two this season with the Stags in third place, six points behind leaders Stockport with a game in hand.

Nigel Clough’s side have won eight and drawn eight but are fresh from three Field Mill defeats on the spin to Port Vale in the Carabao Cup, Wrexham in the FA Cup and Everton Under-21s in the EFL Trophy.

County will be going up against former full-back/midfielder Aaron Lewis in Nottinghamshire after the 25-year-old left Rodney Parade in the summer after three seasons and 102 appearances.

The former Wales Under-21s international has quickly become a mainstay of the Stags side with 18 appearances, scoring an early goal of the season contender with a sublime first-time finish at Accrington in September.

League Two: Notts County v Bradford (12.30pm), Accrington v Wrexham, Barrow v Crawley, Forest Green v Grimsby, Gillingham v Salford, Harrogate v Swindon, Mansfield v Newport County, Stockport v Colchester, Sutton v Tranmere.

(Postponed due to international call-ups: MK Dons v AFC Wimbledon, Doncaster v Walsall, Morecambe v Crewe).