OPPORTUNITY knocks for Newport County AFC’s players that want to force their way into the League Two team tomorrow evening.

The Exiles get their EFL Trophy campaign under way with a fixture against League One Plymouth Argyle at Rodney Parade (kick-off 7pm) and manager Michael Flynn is set to ring the changes.

The boss is out of isolation after missing the games against Tranmere, Southampton and Salford because he tested positive for coronavirus.

County impressively beat Tranmere 1-0 but shipped eight goals in defeat to the Premier League Saints and then put in a shocking performance to lose 3-0 to the Ammies, a defeat that could and should have been heavier.

The plan was always to make sweeping changes for the clash against Plymouth but now those that come in have the chance to put the heat on the starters in Salford ahead of Saturday’s home encounter with Leyton Orient.

“We got beaten, so it might be an opening for some of the younger players,” admitted coach Wayne Hatswell.

County played four fixtures away from home in League Two plus had a long trip to Ipswich in the Carabao Cup.

They had just two days of rest after being given the run-around by Southampton before heading to Salford, where they were sloppy and sluggish.

County named just six substitutes on the bench after on-loan midfielder Finn Azaz and striker Jordan Greenidge joined longer-term absentees Mickey Demetriou, Courtney Senior and Courtney Baker-Richardson.

“We are suffering a bit at the moment,” said Hatswell afterwards. “We had a few sore bodies that started and we are feeling it a bit at the moment as a squad.”

South Wales Argus: BRIGHT PROSPECT: Aneurin Livermore started for County at IpswichBRIGHT PROSPECT: Aneurin Livermore started for County at Ipswich

County have to abide by EFL regulations to avoid a £5,000 fine but the fixture could present a chance for defender Joe Woodiwiss and midfielder Aneurin Livermore after they impressed at Ipswich.

Left-back Louis Hall and striker Jordan Greenidge, summer signings who have been earmarked for development team fixtures, also played at Portman Road and against Southampton.

Energetic forward Lewis Collins ended last season impressively but has had to be patient at the start of the current campaign and could get a chance to push for a spot against Orient.

The same applies for right wing-back Aaron Lewis, who was a starter at Wembley but has lost his spot to Cameron Norman.

Midfielders Sonny Lewis and Jack Karadogan were unused substitutes at Ipswich but are on Wales Under-17s and Under-18s duty respectively while midfielder Lewys Twamley, who had a stellar goal-scoring 2020/21 for the academy, is back from injury to head off with Wales Under-19s.

Striker Ryan Hillier, who scored in the tournament two years ago, could make a first outing of the season after being with Lewis, Karadogan and goalkeeper Evan Ovendale on the bench at Portman Road.