CRAIG Warlow is keen to keep his players on their toes as they bid for another positive result tomorrow when Principality Premiership East leaders Merthyr visit Rodney Parade (kick-off 1pm).

The Newport head coach has seen the Black and Ambers take 11 points from their previous three league matches, including a maximum haul against Ebbw Vale last weekend.

Unavailability and injury have made consistency in team selection impossible for Warlow, but he actually feels changing his line-up on a regular basis can work in their favour.

“There will be a couple of changes to the side for Merthyr to make competition for places high,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s good to make changes to send a message to players that they need to be on top of their game if they want to retain their jersey.

“Like us, Merthyr are hitting a good bit of form, and we know they’ve got a strong squad, so it’s going to be a great test for us.

“I’ve watched a fair bit of them and as soon as they put things together they are hard to stop.

“They are particularly strong when attacking the gain line, so stopping their momentum is also really difficult.”

A comprehensive 42-12 defeat of Ebbw on Sunday should arguably have been by a greater margin given the Steelmen went down to 13 during the second half.

And Warlow had slightly mixed feelings about the game from Newport’s perspective, adding: “The boys were excellent, particularly in the first half, which I thought we controlled for long periods.

“Control isn’t something you would usually associate with us. We’re always capable of it but sometimes lack a bit of control, and it’s not necessarily through the half-backs but as a team in general.

“We wanted to kick on in the first 20 minutes of the second half, particularly with them being down in numbers, but we weren’t able to do that.

“If you had asked me beforehand if I’d take a win with a bonus point then obviously I would have.

“But when you’re 25-5 up at half-time and the other side go down to 13 you really want to retain control and kick on.”