“THE players seem to think ‘job done’ – time to pack my bucket and spade for my holiday in Ibiza” – Argus reader’s comment, April 2016.

“Everybody is just going through the motions until May. I expect all the players are doing at half-time is flicking through the Thomas Cook and First Choice brochures” – Argus reader’s comment, April 2018.

We’re into the final month of a long season and we can almost feel the sand beneath our feet, smell that Ambre Solaire and taste that special edition Magnum.

With Newport County AFC safe from relegation and their play-off hopes all but extinguished the accusation that the players are already ‘on the beach’ is an easy one to make.

Manager Michael Flynn has already rejected the assertion, pointing to the stats that show his troops are still putting in the miles.

“For me it will be very disappointing [if the season fizzles out],” said the Exiles boss after the recent home defeat to Crewe Alexandra.

“I don’t think the fans deserve that and the players are definitely not dropping any effort levels.

“If anything, they’re working harder. The GPS data we’ve collected shows that.

“It’s nothing to do with them having their feet up and being on the beach already because I wouldn’t let that happen.”

And stand-in captain David Pipe also insists that he won’t let anyone take their foot off the gas before the final match of the season at Carlisle United on May 5.

“The play-offs is probably unrealistic now but that doesn’t mean you go into those games not trying to win,” said the 34-year-old after Saturday’s home defeat to Stevenage.

“I don’t like losing a five-a-side game, let alone on a match-day so you definitely won’t get anything different out of me and I’ll make sure that the rest of the boys are on it as well.”

I certainly believe both Flynn and Pipe’s proclamations and I don’t doubt that all the players are desperate to put a halt to a run of only one win in 12 league games.

But it’s only natural for performance levels to drop when there is not the immediate threat of relegation or the realistic prospect of promotion.

The effort and the application may still be there but basic psychology will tell you that without the edge of absolutely needing that win teams are often incapable of preventing their season from drifting to a fairly flat conclusion.

South Wales Argus:

That is absolutely not what Flynn, his coaching staff or the players will want and, despite what some fans may think, they will be doing everything they can to end a hugely encouraging campaign on a high.

County are likely to end up somewhere between 10th and 17th in League Two and after successive finishes in 22nd place that is clearly progress.

When you add in all the money and the prestige from a fantastic FA Cup run even the most pessimistic of supporters would surely have to admit that it’s been a good season.

It could have been better, of course, and there is understandable frustration that an unlikely promotion push has failed to materialise.

Flynn’s men briefly climbed to fifth in the table after beating Crawley Town on January 19 and the play-offs looked achievable.

The prospect of automatic promotion was even mentioned with County only one point behind third-placed Accrington Stanley.

County have only won once since then, while Stanley have claimed 12 victories from 14 games to surge 29 points ahead. Perhaps Flynn should follow their lead with some Big Mac motivation?

Like near neighbours Bristol City in the Championship, cup success clearly had a significant impact on league form for the Exiles.

But injuries and an over-reliance on a relatively small core group of players – only 14 have made more than 25 appearances – have also taken their toll.

With money from the FA Cup run and another summer to strengthen his squad, Flynn will be confident of improving again next year and sustaining a play-off bid.

And he will be well aware of the need to build some momentum over the next few weeks to take into the opening months of next term.

Warren Feeney saved the club from relegation two years ago before his team endured a dreadful run of results at the end of the season and he was gone after only nine games of the following campaign.

Flynn has much more credit in the bank than Feeney and, unlike the Northern Irishman, he has the full confidence of the board but he knows that he’s in a results business.

And even the hometown hero and architect of the Great Escape will be under pressure if the current run goes on too long.