NEWPORT County AFC should be boosted by the return of three players for this weekend’s FA Cup first-round tie against Metropolitan Police FC but midfield duo Andrew Crofts and Joss Labadie are not quite ready to feature.

Manager Michael Flynn has Fraser Franks back from suspension and he also expects fellow defenders Mark O’Brien and Scot Bennett to be fit to play.

Franks has sat out the last three matches after his red card at Crawley Town on October 20, while O’Brien and Bennett both missed last Saturday’s defeat at Carlisle United after being forced off against Morecambe on October 27.

Flynn revealed last week that he had launched an investigation into the mounting injury list but the situation now appears to be easing.

“We’ve looked into things, we’ve looked at the data, and there’s a whole range of things,” explained the Exiles boss.

“Some of the injuries are impact injuries but Andrew Crofts is a very unfortunate one where he had an infection that then caused the inflammation of his Achilles.

“There’s no tear there and it’s not a bad one. He should be back on the grass today, which is positive, and he’s not too far away.

“Labs has been working his socks off and he’s looking in really good condition. We’ve just got to make sure we time that right.

“Mark O’Brien and Scot Bennett should be available for Saturday, as will Fraser Franks – unless anything happens in training.

“And we’ve had clearance to play all the loan players so that’s a positive. If fit, they’re all available.”

The imminent return of midfield duo Crofts and Labadie is something that Flynn is relishing, but he won’t rush the experience pair back before they are ready.

Crofts has been out since August due to an infected blister than led to his Achilles problem.

Labadie, who re-joined the club last month, has not played since suffering an anterior cruciate ligament knee injury in March.

“This weekend is definitely too soon for them,” said Flynn.

“There’s no point in trying to rush them and trying to cut a week off what has already felt like a long time.

“If we’ve got to wait another week then so be it but when they are fit it’ll be good for us.

“We can start getting back to what was our strongest team and start putting some solid performances in.

“We can get back to keeping those clean sheets away from home against the likes of Oldham and Tranmere.

“It goes to show how good those results were because they’ve both improved massively since then.”