NEWPORT County AFC are approaching the halfway stage in the League Two campaign and four players have a chance of being ever-presents.

The Exiles' well-documented injury troubles have led to manager Graham Coughlan having to rely on a core of players.

A quartet of them have been involved in all 20 league fixtures from first day at Accrington to the excellent win at Morecambe.

Midfielders Bryn Morris and Scot Bennett plus forward Will Evans have started every game while utility man Shane McLoughlin had to settle for a spot on the bench against Colchester in October, coming on after just 23 minutes due to an injury to Declan Drysdale.

Centre-back Ryan Delaney is on 19 – the captain's dismissal against Barrow denied him the chance to hit 46 in his first season in Newport – while, injury-permitting, goalkeeper Nick Townsend looks likely to finish in the 40s after missing out to Jonny Maxted at Swindon and Walsall.

Omar Bogle played in all 46 League Two games in his first season at County but is on 16 for the current campaign after missing the first four fixtures through injury.

South Wales Argus: RELIABLE: Bryn Morris has played in every game so far for CountyRELIABLE: Bryn Morris has played in every game so far for County (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

It is Morris that leads the way in terms of league minutes played with 1760 according to (note: figures do not include added time).

Bennett is on 1,722, Evans 1,711, Delaney 1,663, McLoughlin 1,662, Townsend 1,620.

County have played two FA Cup games and have finished their Carabao Cup and EFL Trophy campaigns with two and three fixtures respectively.

Of those seven games, Morris played in all seven, Bennett seven, Delaney seven, Evans six, McLoughlin five and Townsend five.

Midfielder Morris, a summer signing from Grimsby, has proved to be a shrewd signing – not only has he performed strongly but he has been dependable when playing in all 27 games.

The 27-year-old has made 26 starts and came on at half-time in the EFL Trophy win at Cheltenham, while Coughlan has substituted him just twice.

Durability should be a key factor in County’s recruitment given their small budget – hence currently sidelined Kyle Jameson was always a gamble given the defender’s injury track record – and Morris has a big tick.

The midfielder hit 40 appearances in two of the three seasons before heading for Rodney Parade while his figure was 21 in 2020/21 because he had been out of favour at League One Burton before moving on loan to Hartlepool.

South Wales Argus: LEADER: Ryan Delaney has racked up the games in County's defenceLEADER: Ryan Delaney has racked up the games in County's defence (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

Similarly, Delaney has a strong CV with 38 appearances last season for Morecambe in League One, 33 the year before that and 23 in 2020/21 when he was a regular with Bolton in the first half of the campaign until suffering a gruesome ear injury.

Full-back McLoughlin’s 2022/23 tally of 23 was affected by selection calls but the previous year he racked up 42 games for Morecambe, the year before that was 44 at AFC Wimbledon.

Evans has had just one full season in the EFL but played in an impressive 52 games for County in 2022/23.

Club legend Bennett has been reliable and versatile for County since 2016 with his current total of appearances a whopping 338.

Such track records of coping with the rigours of EFL campaigns will give Coughlan confidence that those individuals can go Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday whereas the approach might need to be different with young loanees Lewis Payne, Matty Bondswell and Seb Palmer-Houlden.

The manager will be keen to stress that he looks no further than the next game but he won’t solely be focussed on Prenton Park.

The dates will be on a whiteboard in his Spytty Park office – Tranmere 9 (A), Barnet 12 (A), Grimsby 16 (H), Wrexham 23 (A), Forest Green 26 (H), Crewe 29 (H), Sutton 1 (A), Accrington/Eastleigh 6 (H).

Coughlan and his staff need to be mindful of workload and will know that the upcoming three games in eight days is followed by a relative rest for Wrexham.

That Racecourse fixture starts a manic block of five games in 15 days – do the Exiles have to be proactive and pragmatic with rotation to avoid another injury crisis?

One thing is for certain, County’s core of regulars won’t want to lose their spots in the side as they hunt the magic 46 that so many want when the whistle goes at the start of August.