NEWPORT County AFC manager Graham Coughlan believes it would be a ‘minor miracle’ for his side to mount a challenge for the League Two play-offs.

The Exiles are 13th in the table and just four points off seventh-placed Notts County thanks to a six-game unbeaten run.

County have won three on the spin, the latest of which was a 2-1 comeback win against Swindon at Rodney Parade.

Yet Coughlan gave a one-word answer when asked if a play-off charge was on his mind: “No.”

The boss may be playing it down when it comes to cracking the top seven but he’s happy to admit to the target of beating the effort by the squad of 2022/23.

They finished 15th and racked up a total of 57 points (1.24 per game) while the current crop are on 40 from 29 games (1.38).

“We are looking at Walsall,” said Coughlan ahead of Saturday’s trip to Bescot Stadium. “If we can win then we add it to what we have done.

“As I have said since the start of the season, our target is to get to 57 points and finish higher than we did last season. That would be remarkable, anything more than that would be a minor miracle.

“But with this group of lads and their character, with the supporters behind us you never know.

“Let's not carried away, we have had enough kicks in the teeth in this division this season and I do believe we got a little bit of luck against Swindon.

“You need a little bit of luck and we didn't get that in three horrendous months in September, October and November [when ravaged by injury].

“Getting through that was difficult but hopefully the hard work we put in then is starting to bear fruit.”

South Wales Argus: HAPPY: Newport County manager Graham CoughlanHAPPY: Newport County manager Graham Coughlan (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

County have lost just two of their last 10 games in all competitions – at Wrexham before Christmas and to Manchester United – and it hasn’t just been the results that have pleased their boss.

“It's been a strong 10 games with really strong performance levels,” said Coughlan.

“We have gathered a few points along the way and that was our third successive league victory, something that I hadn't done since coming through the door.

“The key is now getting another one. We are going along nicely.”

Walsall are also in good form after claiming 11 points from their last six games, with their only loss coming against leaders Stockport.

The Saddlers, who boast former County centre-back Priestley Farquharson in their ranks, can climb above the Exiles if they beat Morecambe at the Bescot on Tuesday night.