NEWPORT County AFC boss Graham Coughlan wants giving Manchester United a scare to be the catalyst for climbing League Two.

The Exiles did themselves proud when they took on the Premier League giants in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday.

The Red Devils raced into a 2-0 lead but Bryn Morris smashed in a long-range effort in the 36th minute before Will Evans levelled shortly after the restart.

Antony restored the lead when he scored from a rebound and then Rasmus Hojlund ensured United avoided an upset in added time.

Now County return to the league with 18 games left of the campaign, starting with another big event against Swindon on Saturday (kick-off 12.45pm).

Coughlan’s side are 16th in the table, two points off the top half and seven behind Notts County in the final play-off position.

South Wales Argus: PROUD: Boss Graham Coughlan after Newport County's 4-2 defeat to Manchester UnitedPROUD: Boss Graham Coughlan after Newport County's 4-2 defeat to Manchester United (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“I have a great group of lads and they did the football club, themselves and their families proud last week,” said the manager.

“They have represented themselves brilliantly and I don’t want the United game to be the end of it.

“I want it to be the catalyst of a little push to gather as many points as we can before the end of the season.

“We had a really tough time at the start of the season [because of financial issues] and then with the injuries in September, October and November.

“We’ve got lads coming back now and hopefully we can take that performance, character and resilience and build on it.

“We managed the occasion well up against class, we won our duels and there was a lot to be pleased about. I am really proud.”

The Exiles featured centre-back Kyle Jameson, who has not played since August because of a hip injury, and striker Offrande Zanzala, out since February because of ruptured knee ligaments, on the bench.

They were unable to field new recruit Luke Jephcott in the matchday squad because his registration did not come through from the EFL by Friday after he signed on Thursday.

The striker will hope to come into the mix to face Swindon, who he played for on loan from Plymouth last season before he had a short spell at St Johnston in Scotland.

County are set to play in front of a bumper crowd in Newport for the third game on the spin with the league games against Wrexham and Swindon sandwiching the United game.

“The crowd was brilliant and when you are 2-0 sometimes you lose a portion of them but ours got us back in the game,” said Coughlan.

“The noise at 2-2 was brilliant and I hope they stick with us and cheer us for the rest of the season. We’ve got 18 games left and we need that passion and support.”