NEWPORT County caretaker manager Tim Harris will look to add some defensive cover to his squad this week after a makeshift back line shipped four goals at Mansfield Town on Saturday.

County were bundled out of the FA Trophy as Harris’ first match in charge after replacing Dean Holdsworth ended in a 4-2 defeat at Field Mill.

The Exiles were without captain Gary Warren and his regular deputy, Jamie Collins, through suspension, with Mike Fowler asked to fill in at centre-back alongside stand-in skipper Chris Todd.

And with his side 3-0 down at the break Harris replaced struggling left-back Curtis McDonald with youth team prospect Andrew Hughes.

Tough-talking Harris was not afraid to slam his side’s poor defensive display.

"You don’t win football games conceding goals the way that we have in the last few games," he said.

"We’re shipping goals for fun and making mistakes all over the pitch.

"I was disappointed by Curtis McDonald’s performance and I’m sure Curtis was disappointed himself," he added.

"Andrew Hughes is a young lad who has come through the academy and it’s about time he experienced what this level is all about. He was a little bit shaky at first but after that he did well."

A second-half fightback saw County pull the Stags back to 3-2 thanks to a Gary Silk own goal and a Robbie Matthews header, but a fourth goal killed them off seven minutes from time.

"To be fair to the players they kept going and got themselves back into a position where I thought we might just be able to sneak something and bring them back to our place," said Harris. "But then we got done again, which was very disappointing.

"You can look at the suspensions but we’re not going to make excuses. We still had players out there who should have been able to deal with what Mansfield threw at them.

"We kept shooting ourselves in the foot and they took full advantage," he added.

"The lads have had a traumatic week and we’ve got to regroup and start winning football matches. Unfortunately we didn’t do that."

Tomorrow’s home clash with Cambridge United has been postponed due to the visitors’ FA Trophy replay taking precedence.

That gives Harris more time to bring in a defender before Saturday’s visit of Rushden & Diamonds with Collins available again but Warren still banned for a further three matches.

"The game being off means we don’t need to rush into anything," he said. "We’ll take our time and only bring someone in who can improve us."