NEWPORT County AFC’s players still believe they can make a late surge for the League Two play-offs, according to midfielder Scot Bennett.

With 18 fixtures of their league campaign remaining, Michael Flynn’s men are nine points behind Cheltenham Town, the side occupying the fourth and final play-off place.

County, who host Cambridge United on Saturday (kick-off 3pm), have played fewer games than anyone in the division, with three matches in hand on the four teams directly above them.

Talk of the play-offs will no doubt get short shrift from some, although everyone saw for themselves last season what a Flynn side is capable of.

They may have come up short against Tranmere Rovers at Wembley but just getting to the final was a huge achievement.

And because of that end-of-season run-in there will always be a belief among the squad, and around Rodney Parade, that it can happen again.

Speaking after being County’s match-winner in the defeat of Leicester City U21s on Tuesday night, Bennett said the play-off chase is very much on.

“We’re pushing hard,” he admitted. “The gaffer has brought in a few new faces to freshen things up and bring competition in every area. That can only be a good thing.

“We all still believe and hopefully we can start picking up points and climbing up that table.”

As well as the league, County are chasing another day out at Wembley in the Trophy.

Bennett’s strike to beat the young Foxes in midweek sealed a home semi-final with Salford City on February 19.

He added: “I don’t get many goals, so it was nice to get on the scoresheet and get the win.

“It’s a big thing for the club. We’re now one game away from Wembley and hopefully we can get there.

“I think it’s a good competition, it gives the young lads a chance to get in and around the team and, if you do well in it, you get a chance to play at Wembley.

“It helps clubs like us because we’ve earned £70,000 and I think it’s a good competition for a club like Newport.”

Looking ahead to the Salford tie, he continued: “It’s going to be a tough one. They’ve brought in a few good players which is only going to strengthen them.

“But we go into every game believing we can win and, if we play the football that we know we can, we’ll be confident we can make it through.

“Playing at Wembley is everything that you dream of as a kid. Over the last few seasons we’ve managed to do that a couple of times and to do it three years in a row would be brilliant.

“It took us a while to get over the last visit, but we can look back at it now and say that we’ve played in a play-off final.

“We were unlucky but hopefully, if we get there, it will be a better experience this time.”