NEWPORT County AFC could be without up to five players for Saturday’s first home match of the season.

Manager Michael Flynn is sweating on the availability of defender Mark O’Brien and utility man Robbie Willmott, who both missed last week’s opening day defeat at Mansfield Town.

And three others are doubtful for the home clash with Crewe Alexandra at Rodney Parade.

If they do not recover in time then Flynn, who did not add to his squad before today’s 5pm transfer deadline, could be forced to name fewer that the seven substitutes allowed by the English Football League.

“We’ve had a tough week,” said the Exiles boss. “There’s five who haven’t trained all week.

“It’s not ideal but I’m hoping a couple of them come through, otherwise we’re going to be a bit short.

“I’m worried about one or two making Saturday.

“We’ve had a bit of illness and one or two new injuries. It’s not ideal but it is what it is. You play with the cards you’re dealt and get on with it.

“I could bring in academy players but they’re away for 12 days in Holland, which doesn’t help, so we might go with or two short on the bench in the worst case scenario.”

Flynn is working with a small squad of 21 players and he would like to add one or two more.

EFL clubs can still sign players on loan until the end of the month and there is a possibility that County could be active before August 31 but the manager says he may have to go with what he’s got until January.

“I was hoping to bring one in this week but it wasn’t possible,” said Flynn.

“I’d like to bring a few more in but the budget’s not there and there’s nothing I can do about that. We are where we are.”

Asked about potential loan deals, he said: “I’m not overly confident of doing one unless somebody who I think will add value to the squad can come in for little or no money.

“If that happens then great but I won’t be signing people for the sake of it. That’s not what we’re about.

“We’ll just have to see. At the moment we’re at the maximum of the budget and it is what it is.

“If we can find a way of getting one or two more in then that would be good but I won’t be signing people just to add numbers to the group.”

Flynn accepts that he does not have the same resources as some of his rivals in League Two.

“You’d love to be in their financial position but it is what it is,” he added.

“We’re Newport County; we’ve got to live within our means and it’s one of those things. We’ll have to get on with not being one of the big spenders in the league.”

Flynn also confirmed that 17-year-old defender Jay Foulston will remain with the first team.

“I’d be a fool to let anybody go out at the moment,” he said.

"Jay is someone who can benefit from training with us day in day out. I do think he needs games but the timing has got to be right."