MANAGER Graham Coughlan has warned that Newport County AFC will ‘fall flat on our faces’ if getting excited about a charge for the League Two play-offs.

The Exiles, currently 11th, will be in the top seven if they stun sixth-placed Barrow in Cumbria this afternoon and other results go their way.

County are having a strong season after being tipped as one of the relegation candidates because of a summer of change and financial uncertainty.

They are play-off contenders but Coughlan won’t allow his squad to talk about that.

The manager set a first target of 50 points and now, with the club on 55, wants to be the 2022/23 tally.

South Wales Argus: The League Two standingsThe League Two standings (Image: EFL)

“Whether top, middle or bottom, every team in the league will be looking to get to 50,” said Coughlan. “When you get to the other side of that, we got 57 last year and we are chasing that down.

“The quicker you can get to it, the better but it’s for you guys in the media to talk about the other side of things. It was the same when we came in, we didn’t want any talk of the other end of the table.

“It’s so important in football to concentrate on the next game because as soon as you take your eyes off it, you start making mistakes and fall flat on your face.

“I say this to the kids all the time, as soon as you thing you have made it, the game will kick you between the teeth and that hurts.

“We have always said crawl, walk, run, hopefully one day we will be able to advance and our targets and ambitions will be bigger than they are at this moment in time.”

South Wales Argus: SUCCESS: County celebrate their win at WimbledonSUCCESS: County celebrate their win at Wimbledon (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

Coughlan’s cautious approach is wise given that plenty of twists and turns lie ahead, with his side facing another key spell of three games in 10 days.

Barrow is followed by another long trip to a Colchester side scrapping for their Football League status on Good Friday and then a Bank Holiday Monday home meeting with fellow play-off contenders Crawley.

County are without captain Ryan Delaney and centre-back James Clarke for the rest of the season, influential right-back Shane McLoughlin faces a battle to play in the run-in and striker Omar Bogle and young defender Josh Seberry are on the comeback trail.

“There will be a lot of change and you have to look at our circumstances – we don’t have the luxury of picking from a fully-fit squad, and haven’t at any stage this season,” said the manager, whose side play four of their last six games at Rodney Parade.

“When you have a squad of our size you are limited with what you can do and how far you can push people.

“Saturday is game number 50 [in all competitions] and there have been no opportunities to take players out of the firing line. It has been a long, hard, tough season with a lot of adversity and we are still fighting and not far off our 57 target.”