County’s caretaker manager Wayne Hatswell has stressed the importance of his team being 100% against Exeter, as the Exiles prepare for a tough run of three games in seven days.
Newport make the trip to Exeter on Saturday before hosting Carlisle on Tuesday night and then it is another away day next weekend, with Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium on the horizon. Hatswell has been pleased with his team’s recent run of [GAMES] unbeaten in the league but knows that the next week is going to be tough on his players.
"The team have performed well, and I want that hunger throughout the team but we need to be at our best at the weekend because we've got a run of three games in seven games and two tough away games either side of Carlisle,” Hatswell said.
"Matty Taylor has got Exeter resolute, so they're experienced, they've been in the league a long time, got a big squad and they've had a lot more money this year.
“The club have had a couple of windfalls from certain players leaving etc so Matty's been able to bolster the squad and that will come to light when teams are struggling for fitness problems and possibly COVID throughout the season so he may be looking for a bit more of a settled squad.
"It's a bit like us the year before when we picked up maybe too many draws and you always want to turn one of them into a win but if you're drawing you can always be susceptible to that counter-attack like we were against Bradford.
“There are fine lines in football, but we must take the positives from the last couple of games at home, we will cause them problems.”
Although he is fully aware of the tough run of games coming up for County, Hatswell is full of faith for the group that they can make another run for the promotion spots as they try and go one better from last season’s Play-Off Final defeat.
"The quality that we've got in the dressing room is capable of putting together an unbeaten run of seven, eight, nine, ten games if you want to start looking at that.
“It's a tough challenge in a tough league but it's something that I think we're capable of doing, whoever comes in and picks up off the back of the team winning a couple of games, picking up points, going in the right direction, we want to try and get into that top five if we can in the next few weeks.
“If we can try and get back-to-back wins, which we're all striving for, it gets a bit of confidence into the group - that competition for places as well keeps everything healthy.
“Anything can happen in football, and you never know what's coming around the corner. We're fully prepared for a tough weekend; we've given them the rest that I think they needed for this week and hopefully that's going to bode us well.
"It's a big week, we've got the travel. I know it's not that far, but you just hope you get everyone through it with no niggles, then it carries on into Tuesday, and then you're not so sure whether you play somebody.
“Those are the ones that get into the rhythm of the team. Touch wood we've been healthy so far, so I just want to keep them like that.”
Although two of the next three games are away from South Wales, Hatswell is excited by the prospect of a relatively short travel distance potentially leading to a large away following from the Amber army.
“Hopefully we'll take a few down to Exeter tomorrow, the next two away games the fans have got something to look forward to, hopefully we'll send them home with a smile on their face.”