TWO years ago Offrande Zanzala was part of an Exeter City team finishing off the job to earn promotion from League Two, now he's hunting a late charge with Newport County AFC.

The 27-year-old will feature for the Exiles at AFC Wimbledon this afternoon knowing that victory would put them right in the mix for the play-offs.

County are 12th in the table, five points back on the seventh-placed Dons with a game in hand.

Graham Coughlan’s side have little margin for error – and the boss insists their current target is six more points to beat their 2022/23 tally – but they are contenders.

That is something of a miracle given that County were tipped for a relegation battle at the start of the season and then suffered an autumn injury crisis.

Instead they are comfortably mid-table and looking up.

“Sometimes it's good to be a dark horse,” said Zanzala. “The gaffer has mentioned it before, it's what happens at the end of the season. It doesn't matter how you start, it's how you finish.

“We believe we are a good team and, after being on the back foot, we have players coming back from injury.

“There are high spirits in the changing room and our belief is good. We'd love to surprise quite a few teams and there is something there for us to grab.”

South Wales Argus: RELIEF: Harry Charsley restored County's lead against Morecambe from Offrande Zanzala's lay-off RELIEF: Harry Charsley restored County's lead against Morecambe from Offrande Zanzala's lay-off (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

Zanzala is one of those that has spent most of the campaign on the sidelines and made his return at the start of February after a year out with ruptured knee ligaments.

He scored a double at Harrogate last month and is now one of the options for leading the line along with top scorer Will Evans, Seb Palmer-Houlden, Luke Jephcott and Kiban Rai, with last season’s talisman Omar Bogle close to a return from injury.

County’s attacking threat was clear on Tuesday when they beat Morecambe, another play-off contender, 5-3 in a mad game at Rodney Parade.

“Morecambe are a good team who are in that position for a reason,” said Zanzala. “Winning 5-3 was a big statement and we want to take the game to other teams, like Wimbledon. We want to stay in the race for promotion.”

Zanzala scored a penalty in a 1-1 draw at Plough Lane last season and knows they will have to dig deep.

“They are a tough team, physical but play a decent style of football,” he said.

“We've got belief in our team and winning on Tuesday helps, there is good energy in training and we need to take the game to them.

“We need to do the same as we did on Tuesday, fight for each other to get the three points.”

County have no fresh injury concerns for the clash at Wimbledon with defenders Ryan Delaney, James Clarke and Josh Seberry absent along with right wing-back, and former Don, Shane McLoughlin.

Striker Bogle is nearing a return and did training drills on the pitch before the win against Morecambe.