CAPTAIN Andrew Crofts is fit to return to action for Newport County AFC at Cheltenham Town this weekend and manager Michael Flynn believes the veteran midfielder can play a vital role.

Crofts has been restricted to just three appearances for County since his summer arrival with an infected blister leading to an Achilles problem, which has kept him out since August.

Flynn is delighted to have his skipper available again and he’s convinced that the Wales international can be a key man during the second half of the season.

“The injury situation is looking a lot better,” said the Exiles boss ahead of Saturday’s trip to Whaddon Road.

“We’ve still got a few training days to go but we should have Andrew Crofts back, which is good.

“He’s been bright and breezy around the place – he’s not let his injury situation pull anyone else down.

“That’s what you need. That’s why he’s captain and why the boys respect him so much.

“He’s been brilliant off the pitch and now we want to see him on the pitch.

“Somebody of his experience can go a long way to helping you when you need to see games out.”

Joss Labadie, Robbie Willmott, Keanu Marsh-Brown, Tyler Forbes and Scot Bennett are all unavailable this weekend but Bennett’s hamstring injury is the only long-term problem.

Willmott injured his hamstring in the win over Colchester United last Saturday but could be back in contention for Tuesday’s home clash with Northampton Town.

“Joss trained again on Tuesday, so that’s good news, and Robbie is not as bad as we thought,” said Flynn

“There’s no point in risking him this weekend but he may be back for Tuesday. We’ll see how he reacts to his rehab in the next few days.

“Tyler is probably two weeks away so Benno is the only real long one.”

Marsh-Brown missed the win over Colchester due to his international call-up to play for Guyana in their Concacaf Nations League clash with French Guiana on Tuesday.

But Flynn revealed that the winger, who has previously been called up by Antigua & Barbuda, missed out on a first cap for Guyana due to injury.

“Keanu was back the next day – he flew out and then flew straight back,” explained the manager.

“He did a fitness test before he went and was declared fit but he landed at the other end and wasn’t fit so he flew back.

“It’s something that we’re looking at – we’re waiting on scan results.

“He’s a great lad, he’s fitted in well with the boys and you can see he’s really frustrated.

“It’s just one of those things. He keeps picking up little niggles here and there and it’s probably his lack of football at the end of last season catching up with him.

“He’s got a slight thigh strain and, fingers crossed, it’s just a bit of soreness.

“He’s working hard in the gym so hopefully he’ll be fit soon.”

The absence of Willmott and Marsh-Brown could open the door for Cameron Pring to earn a first league start.

The Bristol City loanee replaced Willmott last weekend and scored his first goal in senior football while playing on the left of midfield.

“I thought he did really well,” said Flynn. “He’s obviously put his hand up for a starting place.

“We’ll have a look at it. We’ll pick a team that we think can go and win the game.”