NEWPORT County AFC midfielder Matty Dolan believes the players have earned a rest after a superb start to the League Two campaign.

Last Saturday’s 1-0 home win over Carlisle United means County are third in the table after 12 games and just one point behind leaders Forest Green Rovers.

The Exiles will lose some ground on their rivals this weekend as their trip to fifth-placed Cheltenham has been postponed due to international call-ups.

But Dolan feels the break will do the squad good and he insists that they will return to the training pitch with a renewed zeal next week as they prepare to host struggling Scunthorpe United at Rodney Parade on October 19.

Speaking to iFollowExiles, Dolan said: “If we are to get a couple of days off, the lads have warranted them.

“I think quite a lot of the boys will spend some time with the family.

“You can rest and you can take yourself away from it all because it has been hectic in the first 12 games.

“We’ll look to use it right but as soon as we’re back in training, we’ll be fully focused on Scunthorpe.

“Everyone will have their eye on the table on Saturday to see what’s going on,” he added.

“And we’ll be fighting fit ready to carry on that league momentum.

“We’ve been doing very well; the performance wasn’t the greatest on Saturday, but we kept fighting until the end to get the win.

“We’ve got to take that into the work on the training pitch and then go from there and make sure we’re ready and raring to go and get three points against Scunthorpe.”

Campaign Series:

Dolan was the only player to retain his place in the starting XI as County signed off with a 2-0 home defeat to League Two rivals Exeter City in the Leasing.com Trophy on Tuesday night.

“It’s a frustrating one,” said the 26-year-old, who captained a side featuring academy prospects Dom Jefferies and Elis Watts (above) and a number of fringe players.

“I think we started well in the first half and we probably should have put some chances away because we played some really good football.

“The second half was very flat and not up to scratch.

“There are lads in there that are pushing towards the first team squad, which is flying, so we have to make sure we perform and unfortunately we didn’t do that in the second half.

“We’ve said from minute one that it isn’t the main aim of the season to win the Leasing.Com Trophy.

“The league is obviously the main focus but when you do go out there, you want to put on a performance.

“We have to go out there and do ourselves justice but second half we didn’t do that.”

Dolan was pleased, however, to see youngsters like Jefferies and Watts and substitutes Ioan Evans, Ryan George and Ryan Hillier get some game time.

“First half, I think Dom Jefferies at right back has to be up there with the best player on the pitch,” he said.

“And little Elis ran his socks off. It was changed at half time but the lads that came on did very well as well.

“It’s a great experience for them playing with the first team lads.

“With 10 changes, I think it’s important that we sort of come in and look after the boys that haven’t played the majority of games all season.

“We have to lead by example but trying to bring the academy lads through is important.”

Read more: Newport County boss not impressed by fringe players against Exeter City