NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn is sweating on the fitness of key duo Joss Labadie and Mark O’Brien ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup first round clash with Walsall.

Captain Labadie (hamstring) and centre-back O’Brien (foot) both missed last week’s defeat at Notts County and Flynn is unsure if they’ll be fit to face the Saddlers at Rodney Parade (kick-off 5.15pm).

“Joss is probably 50-50,” said the Exiles boss. “Mark I’m a little bit more confident on but I really don’t know.

“I’d love them both to be back. Three of the five [league] games we’ve lost this season those two haven’t played so they are a big miss for us.

“But it gives someone else a chance to come in and stake a claim.”

South Wales Argus:

David Pipe is fit to return after he also missed the trip to Meadow Lane due to illness.

“I didn’t want to risk him last week because he would have been a bit dehydrated and that can increase the risk of muscle injuries,” explained Flynn.

“He wants to play every minute and I know he looks after himself but he’s 33 now, nearly 34, so you have to be careful.”

Fellow defender Calaum Jahraldo-Martin (hamstring) will be out for some time and striker Paul Hayes may make his debut in the Checkatrade Trophy tie at home to Cheltenham Town on Tuesday.

“Calaum is out for a long time,” said the manager. “I’m not expecting him back until Christmas at the earliest.

It was a bad hamstring injury and I’m disappointed for him because he works his socks off day in and day out.

“He was chomping at the bit for a chance and I thought he was doing OK against Swansea [under-21s].”

On veteran front man Hayes, Flynn added: “He’s looking stronger and stronger. He had probably his best day in training on Tuesday but he’s still not ready yet.”

Asked if he could he feature on Tuesday, he said: “Possibly but he’s not one I’m looking to rush, especially with Marlon [Jackson] coming back into the fold as well.”