THERE is light at the end of the tunnel for injury-hit Newport County AFC with manager Graham Coughlan getting close to being able to name a full matchday squad.

The Exiles host Stockport at Rodney Parade tomorrow with the leaders aiming to set a League Two record with a 13th win on the spin.

Newport’s bid to upset the odds is harmed by a lengthy injury list but Coughlan is gradually getting some options back.

Matt Baker returns from Wales Under-21s duty while defender James Clarke and striker Seb Palmer-Houlden made their League Two comebacks from injury as subs in the 2-0 defeat at Mansfield last week.

Midfielder Aaron Wildig is still struggling with a back/hamstring issue but forward Kiban Rai could feature after missing the last three fixtures.

County haven’t been able to name an 18-man squad in the league since Notts County on November 24 but that could soon change, with midfielder Harry Charsley also getting close to a return after an ankle injury.

“We will have a couple of young lads with us but fingers crossed I will be able to get six or seven subs on the bench,” said Coughlan.

The return of Palmer-Houlden has led to fellow Bristol City prospect Olly Thomas returning to his parent club, but County will still be cautious with the striker over the coming weeks.

South Wales Argus: Newport County manager Graham Coughlan with Seb Palmer-HouldenNewport County manager Graham Coughlan with Seb Palmer-Houlden (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“It's great to have another player back and Seb gives us real energy but we've got to manage him correctly,” said Coughlan.

“We will liaise with Bristol City as to what he needs and that will take its course over a couple of weeks, and it's probably the same with James Clarke.

“These players have to be managed in games with time here and there. Seb needs a few weeks before he is fully fit.”

Clarke, Palmer-Houlden and Rai are not ready for a full 90 minutes but the hectic schedule will provide them with game time.

Newport host Stockport, travel to Morecambe on Tuesday then entertain Barnet in the FA Cup.

“Game time will be there for them and hopefully by the end of the eight days we will have the three of them all up to speed with match minutes,” said Coughlan.

County’s injury list features centre-backs Kyle Jameson (hip), Declan Drysdale (hamstring) and Josh Seberry (broken leg), left-back Adam Lewis (quad), midfielders Charsley (ankle) and Wildig (back/hamstring) plus striker Offrande Zanzala (knee).