NEWPORT County AFC need to rediscover their resilience when they return from their summer holidays after a nightmare end to League Two.

The Exiles will go into the 2024/25 season on an eight-game losing streak, a run that equals the run of misery suffered under Graham Westley in January of the 2016/17 Great Escape campaign.

On the opening day of the next campaign, a new-look squad – and the finishing touches are still being made to the released and retained list – will attempt to avoid equalling the nine successive defeats suffered when the club dropped out of the Football League in 1988.

It is new territory for manager Graham Coughlan, who had previously avoided poor runs after taking the reins in October 22.

The boss had never suffered a hat-trick of defeats in Newport before the April 1 loss to Crawley in the run-in, let alone eight.

South Wales Argus: RARE: County, and Will Evans, usually bounced back after defeatsRARE: County, and Will Evans, usually bounced back after defeats (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

This season County had followed League Two defeats with victory on nine occasions, with three draws. They had lost successive games just three times before the run-in.

Last season under Coughlan they followed defeat with a win four times, drew three and lost just one.

“Throughout my tenure we have been resilient, shown character and bounced back after a bad game,” said the manager.

“We’d not gone on a run like that, losing two or three on the bounce. It was unheard of and unprecedented, so maybe one or two players might have to look in the mirror and ask what they did to dig the club or manager out of a hole. Maybe one or two just couldn’t.

“It was a really tough period but I have to keep hold of the positives that we had in the season and where we were.

“I have to sift through the issues at the club and sort them, if I am able to, to put us in a better position to challenge next season because we can’t keep going ‘survive, survive, survive’, we need to change the mentality.

“Hopefully we can build on what we have done in the close season and add numerous players to push on and bring some success to the club.”


Coughlan is starting to build his squad for next season and the four final teams to make up the 24 in the fourth tier will be decided in the coming weeks.

The League Two play-offs get under way on Bank Holiday Monday when Crawley host MK Dons (3pm) and Crewe entertain Doncaster (5.30pm).

The second legs take place in Milton Keynes on Thursday and Yorkshire next Friday (both 8pm).

The play-off final is on Sunday, May 19 at Wembley.

Chesterfield are coming up from the National League as champions and the side joining them will be decided on Sunday when Bromley face Solihull Moors in the final of the play-offs.

A win for the West Midlands side would be preferable in terms of travel for County, whose former skipper Joss Labadie plays for the Moors.

The midfielder was agonisingly close to being the match winner when the Exiles played Morecambe at Wembley in 2021.

Labadie fired over from close range in extra time before the Shrimps won thanks to a controversial penalty.