NEWPORT County AFC manager Graham Coughlan wants to add X-factor and speed to his squad this summer – but also durability.

The Exiles have two games left in their League Two season with a final Rodney Parade fixture on Saturday against Salford before a final day trip to Bradford City.

County were in the mix for the play-offs in mid-March but have suffered six straight losses to slip down to 16th in the table.

Coughlan’s squad is stretched by a second injury crisis of the campaign and a core of players – Bryn Morris, Will Evans, Scot Bennett and Shane McLoughlin and Ryan Delaney before they were sidelined – have shouldered a heavy burden.

The manager has vowed to delve into why the Exiles have been hit so hard by injuries but will also try to ensure recruits have a track record of racking up the games.

South Wales Argus: REGULARS: Bryn Morris (centre) has played EVERY County game this season, Scot Bennett (left) has missed just one League Two fixtureREGULARS: Bryn Morris (centre) has played EVERY County game this season, Scot Bennett (left) has missed just one League Two fixture (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“The season is 46 games, add in the cups and it’s 51 games minimum,” said Coughlan, whose side will finish 2023/24 on 57 fixtures.

“Resources and finances in football are tight and every manager in the country will not only be looking for ability.

“The best type of ability that players can have at this moment in time is availability. Every manager is looking for that. Fitness and durability is a massive part of football, and availability is the biggest part.”

Coughlan will have to get used to a new way of working in the summer with new owner Huw Jenkins set to play a big role in recruitment, as he did when chairman of Swansea.

The manager recognises that a bit more sparkle is needed if County are to push up the table to be contenders next season.

“We will be trying to recruit and put together a squad of players that can show quality but have durability and a track record of availability,” he said.

“We’ve also got to recruit for that little X-factor and bit of quality that we’ve lacked at times this season, while we’ve also got to recruit for speed because I don’t think we are quick enough as a team.

“There are a number of things we need to put into the melting pot when recruiting, but I suppose every football person would say that.”

Coughlan has previously said that he doesn’t envisage wholesale changes but County have a number of senior players approaching the end of their contracts, including captain and centre-back Delaney, stalwart Bennett, midfielder Harry Charsley and forwards Omar Bogle and Offrande Zanzala.

They also have five players on loan – centre-back Matt Baker, left wing-backs Adam Lewis and Matty Bondswell, right-back Lewis Payne and striker Seb Palmer-Houlden.