NEWPORT County AFC are getting close to a return to "feisty training sessions” and selection headaches after their injury crisis, but manager Graham Coughlan has warned they are not out of the woods yet.

The Exiles filled their seven-man bench at Morecambe on Tuesday for the first time in a League Two fixture since Notts County on October 24, albeit it featured teenage academy novice Nelson Sanca.

County have been boosted by the returns of centre-back James Clarke and striker Seb Palmer-Houlden, who both started the wins against Stockport and the Shrimps.

Midfielder Harry Charsley made his first outing on Tuesday since suffering an ankle injury early September while Kiban Rai has returned after a short absence with lively cameos off the bench.

County remain without centre-backs Kyle Jameson, Declan Drysdale, Josh Seberry, left-back Adam Lewis and striker Offrande Zanzala while midfielder Aaron Wildig is making slow progress after a back spasm that affected his hamstrings.

However, things are looking much healthier ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup clash against Barnet with Coughlan finally having some options off the bench.

South Wales Argus: Graham Coughlan with fit-again Harry Charsley in MorecambeGraham Coughlan with fit-again Harry Charsley in Morecambe (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“We are starting to see players come back to fitness and now the problem for them is trying to get into the team,” said the manager.

“Aaron Wildig is one we were hoping to have back by now but that has not materialised.

"Harry is available for a limited amount of time [on the pitch], Seb is still limited time and James will have to be protected after doing 90 minutes back-to-back.

“There is still managing of match minutes to be done with those players and getting training time into them to make sure there is no recurrence of injury.”

Coughlan named the same XI for Stockport and Morecambe and, with £67,000 prize money and a potential third-round meeting with a big gun on the line, is unlikely to make sweeping changes for Barnet.

That is followed by a key spell in League Two that starts with a trip to struggling Tranmere on Saturday, December 9 and Coughlan hopes that training ground graft will ensure County keep picking up the points.

“I want to have the players fit and have competition. Those feisty training sessions are important because that’s where you build resilience and character,” he said.

“Players can’t go out on a Saturday and carry out that intensity in the games if they haven’t put it in Monday to Friday.

“At this moment we are just managing too many players and we are not out of the woods yet. It’s nice to see some back and among the group because that competition is vital and we will get there in the next couple of weeks.”