MICHAEL Flynn believes Newport County AFC are in a no-lose situation as they prepare for the League Two play-offs, but he’s adamant that they are in it to win it.

County will take on Mansfield Town in the first leg of the play-off semi-final at Rodney Parade on Thursday night after Jamille Matt’s late leveller at Morecambe secured their place in the top seven.

Former Exiles youngster Aaron Collins had put the hosts ahead in the first half at the Globe Arena on Saturday and Flynn’s men were for a 10th-place finish before Matt tapped in from close range in the 87th minute.

The 1-1 draw was enough as Exeter City were also held at Forest Green Rovers and confirmation of that result led to wild celebrations with the 871 travelling fans.

“We left it late,” said Flynn. “It wasn’t the best performance, but the result and getting in the play-offs is all that mattered.

“I would have bitten your hand off for this at the start of the season.

“The way we’ve come together as a group is superb.

“People go on about budgets – it’s a bottom-three budget. But we’ve got a group of lads who play above their means more often than not.

“We’ve got a board who are very supportive and try to help out in ways they can and we’ve got a fantastic group of fans who are the core of this football club and always will be.”

Flynn has saved his hometown club from relegation in 2017 and led them to two terrific FA Cup runs in the past two seasons, but he reckons reaching the play-offs tops the lot.

“It’s better than the Great Escape,” said the Exiles boss.

“I’d much rather be at the top of the table and have last-gasp goals to get in the play-offs rather than to stay in the League. I don’t ever want to be in that position again.

“I’m so proud that we’ve reached 71 points and finished seventh in the league.

“It’s a fantastic achievement and it’s a no-lose situation for us.

“Whatever happens now, it’s been brilliant season. But we’re going into the play-offs to try and win them.”

Mansfield Town will have something to say about that and County have only beaten the Stags twice in 12 attempts since both were promoted to League Two in 2013.

But the Exiles are now unbeaten in 10 games and Flynn is relishing the challenge.

“None of them were going to be easy [for us],” he said. “But it won’t be easy for them either. It’s going to be a very difficult tie for both teams. I can’t wait for it.”