GRAHAM Coughlan has demanded that Newport County AFC don’t ‘limp over the line’ as they prepare to host Crawley on Monday afternoon.

The Exiles will try to pass last season’s tally of 57 points and avoid a hat-trick of defeats by beating the Reds at Rodney Parade (kick-off 3pm).

Coughlan’s side lost 1-0 at promotion-chasing Barrow and on Good Friday were stunned by a late comeback by relegation-threatened Colchester, who struck in the 75th minute and then added time to win 2-1 in Essex.

County have played 51 games in all competitions so far this season and they are stretched by injury with Ryan Delaney, James Clarke, Shane McLoughlin, Adam Lewis and Omar Bogle all missing at Colchester.

They remain on the fringes of the play-off battle, that after many had tipped them for a relegation scrap, but Coughlan admits his side are running on fumes after a draining campaign.

South Wales Argus: County hit the front at Colchester through Offrande Zanzala but lost 2-1County hit the front at Colchester through Offrande Zanzala but lost 2-1 (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“It will be tough after two defeats in a row but it's a home game and we will need energy,” said the manager.

“You can see our lads are trying and working their socks off, so will need the crowd to lift us and get behind us. We've also got to give them something to cheer about, we need to be better and improve.

“I don't want the season to peter out and for us to limp over the line, I want to galvanise the group to finish the season strongly, even if without bodies we do struggle.”

Coughlan’s selection options are limited so he won’t make dramatic changes for the Parade fixture.

The boss is frustrated that injuries have hindered his squad when they were looking to build up a head of steam but he remains proud at their work ethic.

“We have an opportunity to finish the season strongly and we want to gather as many points as we can,” he said. “We don't want to limp over the line because the lads have performed really well this season.

“They have maxed out and performed to the best of their ability. We just need some fresh legs to come out the physio room to help us, but at this moment in time that doesn't look likely.”

If County beat Crawley then they will stay as play-off outsiders, but Coughlan doesn’t fancy their chances given the list of absentees.

“I know the group of lads I've got and their capabilities,” he said. “I know the situation that me and the club are in so I was never daft enough to start getting ahead of myself regards the play-offs.

“This bunch of lads are working their socks off so I never got involved in that conversation, just like we never mentioned relegation when we were in that type of battle [last season].

“With this group, we just need to go week to week. Win the next game, that's all our mantra has been all season.”

After Crawley County travel to Grimsby then have three home fixtures against Accrington, Tranmere and Salford before a final day trip to Bradford.