NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn has confirmed that Mark O’Brien will be back for Saturday’s trip to Exeter City, writes Ryan Robinson.

O’Brien was withdrawn after 60 minutes of last week’s homecoming win over Chesterfield with a hamstring problem.

But the 24-year old defender is expected to provide a welcome boost to the Exiles starting team at St James Park.

“Mark is fine,” Flynn said. “It’s a big boost for us. He came off Saturday because his hamstring was really stiff and I wasn’t going to risk him.

“I didn’t want to lose him for six weeks because he’s a big player for us so common sense was needed on that one.”

The Exiles do, however, have several injury headaches for the trip to Devon.

Skipper Joss Labadie and strikers Lamar Reynolds and Shawn McCoulsky all missed Tuesday’s Checkatrade Trophy defeat at Forest Green through injury.

And Flynn says it is still unclear as to whether they are ready to return.

“It’s not great if I’m honest,” he added. “I thought a few would have been a lot better but we’ll have to wait until the last minute on them.”

In their absence, Flynn made eight changes for the 2-0 defeat at Forest Green.

And it is likely to be a similar amount of changes again at St James Park, after Flynn was left unimpressed by some of the performances.

“I gave boys a chance who I thought deserved that chance, needed a chance and a few of them came up short,” he said.

“But it’s one game and I’m not going to lose too much sleep over it. “I won’t be writing anyone off after that game. If I do that then we’ll end up with 13 players in the squad.

“It’s one bad result, we move on and we look forward to Saturday.”

The positive from the host of changes, was the fact that several players received much needed minutes.

Goalkeeper James Bittner and defender Calaum Jahraldo-Martin both started their first games of the season, while Jazzi Barnum-Bobb got his first minutes of the campaign after coming on as a half-time substitute.

Ben Tozer made his first start for eight months after being used as a substitute so far this campaign, and Flynn took positives from those facts.

He added: “I can only concentrate on Newport County and the positive was that a few players got a lot of time under their belt.

“It was Ben Tozer’s first competitive start for a long time, Calaum got his first minutes, Tom Owen-Evans coming back from injury got some minutes so it was good in that respect.”

And the Exiles boss insisted he will be aiming to win the club’s remaining Checkatrade Trophy ties against Swansea City under-21s and Cheltenham Town in October and November.

“I read the Argus and people are saying that I wasn’t interested in winning on Tuesday but I want to win every match,” added Flynn.

“I was expecting to go there and win the game with the team I put out and the result was disappointing. I wasn’t happy after the game.

“The league is far more important but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to win those Checkatrade games.

“I do want to win them. I want to bring the money in for the club, I want the boys to put in good performances and I want to keep the momentum going.

“But I’ve got to look at the bigger picture and we’ve got a massive game on Saturday.”