Having such an important Emirates FA Cup fixture in midweek will give Newport County AFC the perfect opportunity to bounce back from defeat at Swindon Town, according to defender Scot Bennett.
Bennett made a welcome return to the County team in Wiltshire after missing nearly a month of action, having had to withdraw in the CheckaTrade Trophy fixture with Plymouth Argyle due to a recurrence of a hamstring injury.
But he slotted back into the team like he’d never been away, playing centre-half and as a central midfielder when the Exiles changed formation trying to get a result.
They ultimately suffered a third successive away defeat in League Two, however, as Kaiyne Woolery struck nine minutes before the end with a composed finish to give Swindon Town all three points.
Before that, Michael Doughty had given the Robins a dream start when netting a half-volley inside 61 seconds, but the Exiles fought back and levelled just after the restart through a header from Padraig Amond.
Here, you can read what Bennett exclusively told iFollow Exiles following the conclusion of the game.
On defeat to Swindon Town amidst blistery conditions in Wiltshire…
"First-half, we just couldn’t get ourselves going. They played the conditions really well and we just didn’t adapt to the conditions at all.
"We were lucky to go in 1-0 down at half-time but then second-half, we came out so much better, got the goal and from there we thought we would go on and win the game – or at least get a point out of it.
"Then right at the end, we concede another sloppy goal which shouldn’t really happen.
"There’s no excuse whatsoever about the conditions – we lost the game when we should have got at least a point out of it.
"It was tough out there, the wind didn’t help and with it swirling around so much, you didn’t know if it was coming or it was just going to stop. Like you say, in the first-half Joe is taking a goal kick and he normally clears it into the middle of their half but the wind was blowing it back into the middle of our half.
"I’ve only ever played in one game worse than this one and that was similar with the wind but a lot of hail as well. That was up at Hartlepool United and it was a really bad one.
"It’s tough when it’s like that but we stayed in the game, it was only 1-0 and from there, we had the wind with us second-half and we had to take our chances. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that."
On making a welcome return to the starting side after nearly a month out through injury…
"It’s really pleasing to get back out there. It’s been a frustrating time for myself, came back but then picked up the injury again almost straightaway. To come on and get a good 55 minutes was nice and on a personal note, it was nice to get on and play. But we’re disappointed with that result today.
"It was fine [the return to the team.] Came through it, obviously a bit tired towards the end, but other than that it was fine. Another positive.
"I had two really good days training leading up to the game as well. It was intense training as well, it wasn’t taking it lightly or anything like that. I was out with the physio making sure I was putting in all the work that I needed to do ahead of coming back in for a game.
"Played 55 minutes today, felt fine, so if I’m needed on Tuesday night and the gaffer wants me then I’ll be there, and I’ll make sure I’m at my best."
On Padraig Amond getting his 11th of the season – and bringing the strikers’ tally up to 31 combined…
"With Jamille and Podge up-front, you’ve always got a chance. They are both very good in and around the box and when you give them a chance, they’ll generally take it.
"It’s credit to them two because they work their socks off for the team and they are players that don’t just put the ball in the back of the net – they work really hard for us. We need that moving forward.
"Then you’ve got Antoine who came on today and I thought he changed the game a little bit in the first-half. He settled us down and got us on the ball going forward.
"And then we’ve also got Sparky coming off the bench who can beat anyone on his day, his pace really is frightening.
"It’s not a bad four to have."
On switching attention back to the Emirates FA Cup on Tuesday night when entertaining Welsh rivals Wrexham AFC…
"It’s one of them where you’re lucky that you’ve got the game on Tuesday really – it means we have a chance to hopefully bounce back quickly.
"We need to go into that game and go on and win it hopefully because it’s a big thing for the club, for the fans and for us as players.
"We weren’t at our best when we last played them but again, we stayed in the game, had our own chances and we were disappointed not to take some of those. Hopefully when we bring them back to our place, we can respond from today and go on and win the game.
"Wrexham AFC did create some chances in that game as well. Their movement up-front was good, the front three and the midfield for me, watching from home, was quite good.
"I know a lot of the players there have been in around the Football League and they’re not bad players. We’ve got to make sure we turn up and we’re at our best if we want to win the game.
"We know from our experiences last year against Leeds and Tottenham that you are always in the game in cup football. We need to be positive, on the front foot and hopefully then we can take our chances, stop conceding sloppy goals and make sure we’re through to the next round."