Resilient, hard-working County are made to thrive on the road

Resilient, hard-working County are made to thrive on the road

AUSWÄRTS: County gewann in Crewe, um seine gute Form auf der Straße unter Graham Coughlan <i>(Image: Huw Evans Agency)</i> continue” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/″ =”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/></div></div></div><p><figcaption class=AWAY: County won at Crewe to continue their good form on the road under Graham Coughlan (Image: Agency Huw Evans)

NEWPORT County AFC manager Graham Coughlan believes his side have the toughness to ensure they enjoy their boxing day on the road.

The 18th-placed Exiles will not benefit from a League 2 local derby on Monday but face the 276-mile round-trip to AFC Wimbledon.

That duel will be followed by home games against promotion-chaser Leyton Orient and team-mate Crawley in a busy festival week.

January will be a key period in County’s efforts to move away from the prospect of a relegation battle with trips to Rochdale, Carlisle and Grimsby.

“These games are our thing,” Coughlan said. “It’s battles, fights, man to man.

“Individual duels have to be won and you need attitude, work speed and desire, otherwise you get nothing. I think we have all of those qualities in abundance.”

Coughlan is unbeaten in league with the Exiles with draws against Northampton and Mansfield and a superb 2-1 comeback win at Crewe.

South Wales Argus: County chief Graham Coughlan and assistant Joe Dunne

South Wales Argus: County chief Graham Coughlan and assistant Joe Dunne

County Chief Graham Coughlan and Assistant Joe Dunne (Image: Agency Huw Evans)

“I like their resilience and robustness, as well as the organization and leadership,” explained the former centre-back.

“We have good legs and energy. I love the many possibilities they create, that’s a positive.

“Northampton and Mansfield could have been wins too, but I don’t want to be that kind of backslapping man after tough competition.

“I don’t think we’re too far from being a halfway decent second tier team with a signing or two because these guys have the pace of work, attitude and commitment and they care.”

County were last in action against Doncaster Rovers on December 10 after their trip to Hartlepool last Saturday was postponed due to a frozen pitch.

The weather has also forced the Exiles to be flexible in their training, as has been the case with their second division rivals.

Northampton manager Jon Brady highlighted the challenges following his side’s 2-1 win over promotion rivals Carlisle on Tuesday night.

“I think the hardest part for both managers was the physical side. Both teams have had 17 days off and we’ve struggled to find surfaces and pitches to practice due to the weather and a lot of our players can’t go on Astro,” he said.

“We didn’t know where we were going to be physically and you wonder if you’ve done enough, but I thought we were strong physically, especially in the first half.”

Jack Armor put Carlisle ahead in the 50th minute at Sixfields despite suspicion of offside, but third-placed Cobblers scored twice in the next six minutes through Sam Sherring and Louis Appere to turn the game on its head.

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