MANAGER Michael Flynn took the blame for Newport County AFC’s defeat to Northampton after getting his selection wrong – and vowed he won’t make the mistake of giving the players that misfired a shot at redemption.

The Exiles suffered a 1-0 defeat to Northampton Town in a low-quality League Two clash at Rodney Parade on Tuesday, with their misery compounded by a serious injury to stalwart Scot Bennett.

READ MORE: Match report from a miserable night

They don’t have long to lick their wounds with Walsall next up in Newport on Saturday (kick-off 3pm) with Flynn set to ring the changes after accusing his players of going off script.

“We picked the team to play football [on the deck] – I am not going to go with Lewis Collins and Timmy Abraham up front if I am telling them to kick the ball long,” said the boss.

“They let themselves down, and I have to take responsibility for that. The buck always stops with the manager and I picked the team, so I will take the blame.

“We are quite clear on what style that we want to play, but you can lead a horse to water but can’t make it drink. I need to get my team selection right.

“We knew Northampton would be physical and that’s why we picked a team to play football and play around them. There wasn’t enough movement or options on the ball, then the decision-making was diabolical.”

County were without striker Alex Fisher, who came off in the closing stages of the 2-2 draw at Harrogate with a tight calf, and influential midfielder Ed Upson was unavailable because of a sickness bug.

Captain Matty Dolan was dropped to the bench after a shaky display in Yorkshire while midfielder Ollie Cooper came on in the second half.

“We had to freshen it up and sometimes that works for you, sometimes it backfires. Against Northampton it 100 per cent backfired,” admitted Flynn.

South Wales Argus: CHALLENGE: Mickey Demetriou and Ryan Haynes compete for the ballCHALLENGE: Mickey Demetriou and Ryan Haynes compete for the ball

County have a large squad but the manager says the abject display gives him some selection clarity.

“They have played their way out of the squad completely, if I am honest. Some of the performances were dreadful,” he said.

“I will take the blame – I picked the team and I will take this one on the chin.

“There are not too many people putting their hands up for a start at the minute. Not too many of them have been consistent enough.

“I’ve told them to not even think about knocking on my door, if anybody is knocking on my door then it will be slammed in their face.”

Flynn was angry at his own choices and livid with his players; the manager is usually swift out of the changing room for post-match duties but gave his squad a rollocking.

“I can’t even get too angry because I am still getting the odd headache [after having coronavirus], that’s why I was sat down in the dugout,” he said.

“But they had it at half-time and had the brutal truth at full-time. It’s up to them which way they want to take it because if they are going to dish out performances like that then they can stay at home.

“It was probably the most forceful that I have been as a manager because you can’t have a gameplan and work on everything and then toss it out of the window.

“Two players kicked the ball out of play completely unopposed and you had sloppy passing. Mickey Demetriou got Aneurin Livermore booked because he had to go in for a tackle, Priestley Farquharson then nearly got Mickey booked.

“There was a lack of concentration and a lack of professionalism really. Forget about Salford, we have given away five shocking goals in a row, because Northampton didn’t really create anything.

“For us to lose in that manner is not good enough, but it’s my fault.”

County are set to be without Bennett for a long spell after he injured his left ankle when falling awkwardly in the second half.

The midfielder/defender received lengthy treatment and was then stretchered off with his lower leg in a brace.