County boss encouraged ahead of key Carlisle clash despite fourth loss on spin

PRESSURE: Forest Green Rovers beat County but boss James Rowberry (right) was pleased by his side's spirit
PRESSURE: Forest Green Rovers beat County but boss James Rowberry (right) was pleased by his side's spirit

NEWPORT County AFC manager James Rowberry has challenged his players to start against Carlisle as they finished against Forest Green Rovers.

The Exiles face a huge League Two fixture when they welcome the Cumbrians to Rodney Parade on Saturday.

They have lost three on the spin in the league and came up short in their bid for an EFL Trophy tonic against Rovers.

Last season’s League Two champions took the spoils 2-1 thanks to goals by Ben Stevenson and Bryan Fiabema.

Will Evans provided some hope with a goal in added time but Rowberry lamented his side being victims of a second harsh call.

Omar Bogle had early been denied by an offside flag and then Cameron Norman was adjudged to have been fouled outside the box right at the death.

DENIED: Omar Bogle was flagged offside

“We looked at it back and Omar’s ‘goal’ was onside. Aaron Lewis crossed it, their lad challenged him and was on the line while Omar wasn’t,” said Rowberry.

“There was also a penalty when the foul was inside the area but that’s football and we can’t do anything about that now, we’ve just got to build for Saturday.

“I’m naturally disappointed because we lost the game but there was so much encouragement for me, especially off the back of the previous three results, in terms of the fighting spirit, endeavour and the chances that we created.

“We’ve got to give that back to the fans on Saturday when we play Carlisle at home. We’ve got to build on what we did [at the end] against Forest Green.

“We have shown glimpses at times in games but we need to put halves together. We can do it and we can achieve it; we are getting closer to where we need to be.

“We want to get the result against Carlisle but we want it to be a performance the fans are proud of, we have to show our energy, endeavour and commitment to what we are trying to achieve.

“The players gave their all against Forest Green and that’s all you can ask for, maximum effort.”

Rovers were comfortably the better side in the first half but County were more of a threat after the break.

“We shot ourselves in the foot with the goals that we conceded but there was so much improvement in the second half with our intent and crosses into the box,” said Rowberry.

“A key thing that we said at half-time was that we were drifting into certain areas but we needed bodies in the box, when we commit three or four bodies we create more chances.

“I am disappointed that we lost but the encouragement for me is where we can go to, and I said to the lads that we’ve got to keep believing in it. I have no doubt it will fall in place.”

Attacking midfielder Aaron Wildig remains a doubt for the Carlisle match after missing the last four games with a groin strain.