NEWPORT make a swift return to the Talbot Athletic Ground tomorrow with head coach Craig Warlow admitting his side for next weekend’s National Cup final is all but finalised, writes David Williams.

The Black and Ambers, who last lifted the cup in 2001, will have silverware in their sights when they face Merthyr at the Principality Stadium on April 29.

Before that they go back to the scene of their semi-final defeat of Llandovery a fortnight ago for a Principality Premiership game against Aberavon (kick-off 2.30pm).

When asked if jerseys for the Merthyr clash were still up for grabs, Warlow said: “We’re not in a position where we can keep pushing the same players.

“We have to manage the squad in order to achieve what we think we can achieve.

“The cup final is important to us and we’ve done well to get there, but performing on the day and showcasing what we’re about is something we’d like to do.

“This Saturday is important for lots of different people but it’s not going to be particularly relevant to the cup final.

“We’ve definitely got one eye on the final and that will be reflected in selection for Aberavon.

“We did it before the semi-final and we’ll do the same again this weekend.”

He added: “It’s a bit of a cliché but we want the boys who are in the jerseys at Aberavon to give everything emotionally and physically and bring energy to the performance.

“Aberavon are a very capable team and our expectations will be around our performance rather than the result.

“The majority of the boys involved wouldn’t have been involved in the semi-final.”

Newport have won 11 of their last 14 games in league and cup, a run Warlow partially attributes to a kind fixture list.

“A friend who I haven’t seen in a while asked me what the turnaround was down to and I think the fixture list has been a big factor in it," he said.

“Last season we had quite a few away games in a row which made it difficult to pick up momentum.

“This season it has been the opposite and we’ve had quite a few home games together to build momentum.”