MATT Baker could go from Turkey to Essex to boost Newport County AFC's bid to bounce back from defeat in League Two.

The central defender missed last weekend's 1-0 loss at Barrow because he had been in action the previous night for Wales Under-21s.

The 21-year-old, who is having a second spell with the Exiles on loan from Stoke City, played the full 90 minutes of the 2-1 win against Lithuania at Rodney Parade in European Championship U21 qualifying.

Baker then travelled to Turkey for Tuesday’s friendly fixture against Morocco Under-23s in Antalya.

He started in the 2-0 defeat to the African side, who were using the match as preparation for the Paris Olympics this summer.

South Wales Argus: Matt Baker, middle, attacks a set piece for Wales Under-21sMatt Baker, middle, attacks a set piece for Wales Under-21s (Image: PA)

With the Welsh youngsters getting back on Wednesday, County will have to assess the fitness of the young defender but they could do with him returning for the Good Friday encounter with Colchester at JobServe Community Stadium.

Baker has made 32 appearances this season and has been a regular since returning from a hamstring injury in October.

Manager Graham Coughlan is already without Ryan Delaney, James Clarke and Josh Seberry, while Declan Drysdale is on the comeback trail and hasn’t featured in the last two matchday squads.

That led to academy graduate Harrison Bright, a right-back by trade, making his first League Two start at Barrow in a central trio with captain Scot Bennett and Kyle Jameson.

Baker’s preparation time would be limited for the away game in Essex but his presence would boost the bid to stay in the mix for the play-offs.

County are on 55 points and victory would take them past Coughlan’s target of 57 to match last season’s tally.

They are currently four back on seventh-placed Crawley, who also have a game in hand. The Reds travel host Doncaster on Friday and then travel to Newport on Monday.

Goalkeeper Nick Townsend was replaced at half-time by Jonny Maxted in Cumbria after reporting a groin strain, although it was said to be a precaution.

County won 2-1 when the sides met in Newport in October thanks to a lucky winner when a clearance went in off Omar Bogle.

Conditions were tricky in windy Barrow while the surface could be an issue in Essex.

Colchester have been given special dispensation by the EFL to narrow their pitch by four metres and shorten it by three because of draining issues leading to a batch of postponements.

That means the U’s have games in hand over the bottom two of Sutton and Forest Green, who are both a point back.

Colchester face a run of nine games in 30 days but boss Danny Cowley is relishing the challenge.

“We're going to attack the games and give them everything we've got,” said the manager, whose team battled for a draw at leaders Mansfield last time out.

"We are under no illusions as to how important these next few weeks are in our lives. It's really hard to beat the man that never gives up and we're going to go right to the end, I can assure you of that."

Good Friday fixtures in League Two: Accrington v Morecambe, AFC Wimbledon v Harrogate, Barrow v Grimsby, Bradford v Tranmere, Colchester v Newport County, Crawley v Doncaster, Forest Green v Stockport, Gillingham v Crewe, Milton Keynes Dons v Walsall, Salford v Sutton, Swindon v Notts County, Wrexham v Mansfield.