SCOT Bennett believes Newport County AFC can channel the spirit of 2019 as they aim to make a late charge for the League Two play-offs, writes Andrew Penman.

Bennett and goalkeeper Nick Townsend, who both featured in County’s FA Cup clash with Manchester United last month, are the only survivors from the 2018-2019 season when the club also enjoyed a memorable cup run that was only ended by Manchester City in the February.

The team, then managed by Michael Flynn, lost three of their next five games after their cup exit and were eight points off the top seven with only 10 games left to play.

But six wins and four draws in the run-in were enough to make the play-offs, where they lost agonisingly to Tranmere Rovers in the closing minutes of extra-time in the Wembley final.

The Exiles are currently top of the form table in the fourth tier with 14 points from their last six games, raising hopes of another top-seven bid.

Bennett is too experienced to get carried away and he’s adamant that the current side are taking it one game at a time – a sentiment echoed by manager Graham Coughlan – but he believes they can continue to climb the table.

Coughlan’s men travel to Walsall today looking to keep pace with the sides above them, before they host seventh-placed Notts County at Rodney Parade on Tuesday night.

“We know we’re going to be in for a tough game,” said Bennett. “But we’re looking forward to it and hopefully we can carry on our good run of form.

“It’s been really good for the last six or seven games. We’ve been on a good run, and we want to continue that and keep going in the right direction.

“You’ve got to take one game at a time – you can’t get too high when you’re on these runs and you can’t get too low when you’re having a bad spell.

“You’ve just got to concentrate on the next game and hopefully get three points before moving onto the next one.

“But we’re definitely in a good place,” added the 33-year-old, who made his 350th appearance for the club against United.

“We’ve come through a tough period with the injuries we picked up, and now with them returning we’re in good form and you add in the takeover and the cup run as well – it’s been really good. There have been real highs around the club and hopefully that continues.”

Asked about the similarities between this season and five years ago, Bennett said: “We were on cloud nine with the United game and you ride that wave for a little bit, but that settled as soon as the game was done.

“The league is the bread and butter and we’ve got targets that we’ve been aiming for all season. You’ve got to get straight back into that mindset and, luckily, we did that against Swindon last week.

“We had a really good cup run in 2019 and we dipped a little bit after it, but then we hit a good run of form again towards the end of the season.

“Hopefully this time around we won’t have that dip and we can maintain the form we’ve been in for the last six or seven games.

“If we can maintain that, I can’t see why we can’t be up and around it. But, for now, it’s game by game and the focus is on getting three points at Walsall.”