NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn admits his players need to improve quickly if they are to avoid a major embarrassment at the hands of FA Cup minnows Maldon & Tiptree on Friday.

County were beaten 1-0 at home by struggling Oldham Athletic on Saturday – their third league loss on the bounce and a second successive home defeat in League Two.

Flynn’s men are down to 11th in the table and confidence is low as they prepare for their FA Cup second-round tie in Maldon, which will be shown live on BBC 2.


“We’re going to be live on TV so there’s no hiding place on Friday,” said the Exiles boss.

“They need to start finding some form. Even when we’ve won a couple, we haven’t been great, if I’m totally honest.

“We went long, but I don’t tell them to go long. I don’t tell them to kick the ball out of play, I don’t tell them to hit the front man on a cross.

“Are we going to turn into Real Madrid overnight? No. Let’s make that clear. We are where we are.

“Are they going to be up for Friday? Of course they are.

“They were up for it for this one and I thought we battled really well in the first half but we conceded a poor goal.

“And in the second half we just overhit everything and whatever we didn’t overhit, we under-hit. It was poor, really poor. And I’ve had to make a couple of enforced changes.”

South Wales Argus:

Matty Dolan, Joss Labadie and Corey Whitely were all withdrawn in the second half, while Josh Sheehan was suspended and Robbie Willmott missed out through injury.

“Josh will be back [on Friday],” said Flynn. “Robbie was out with a calf strain.

“Mickey [Demetriou] is out as well and, from the team that got us to the play-offs [last season], we’re also missing Regan [Poole], Joe [Day] and Buts [Dan Butler] so that is six out.

“You can see why we looked like, at best, a mid-table team. And that’s exactly where we are at the minute.”

Flynn also opted to leave out goalkeeper Tom King after his return from international duty with Wales and stick with Nick Townsend.

“Nick deserved to play, it’s as simple as that,” he explained.

“I thought Nick was excellent. He was the only one who looked like he was better that this league, for us.

“If you play well, you keep your place. There’s one or two where I do change it depending on how we think we can affect the opposition.

“But we could still be out there now and we wouldn’t have scored.”

County have scored just 17 goals in 17 games in League Two, fewer than anyone apart from bottom three Walsall, Stevenage and Morecambe.

And, having conceded just six times in their first 12 league games, the Exiles defence has been breached eight times in the last five.

Read more: We were poor, we looked low on confidence, says Newport County boss