DEFENDER Fraser Franks is desperate to help Newport County AFC secure automatic promotion this season in order to avoid a major scheduling clash in six months’ time.

Franks and his wife, former S Club Junior singer Stacey McClean, announced last week that they are expecting their first child in May 2019.

And the exact due date is May 25 next year – the same day as the League Two play-off final at Wembley.

So the centre-back is now under orders to ensure the Exiles seal a top-three spot by the end of the regular season on May 4.

“Newport is a very family-orientated club and the chairman organised a get-together for all the families in the summer,” said Franks.

“I think it was only me and one other player in the squad that didn’t have kids and they told me then that there was something in the water at Newport and it wouldn’t be too long [before we were expecting].

“And both our wives are now pregnant so there is definitely something in the water.

“The due date for us is on the day of the play-off final. I’ve already checked it and my wife has told me that we need to finish in the top three now!”

County climbed back up to third in the table with last week’s 2-0 home win over Colchester United and Franks is confident that they can maintain their promotion push.

“It was another clean sheet and another win and a pretty decent performance against a team who we believe will be at the top end come the end of the season so it was a big win,” said the 28-year-old.

“That’s three clean sheets in a row now and I think we’re starting to look a lot more solid as a back four or five and in front of us as well.

“We’ve given ourselves a solid base to build from because we know we’ve got goals at the other end of the pitch.

“We’re up in the promotion places and we want to see the job through.

“It would be a massive thing for us but nobody is getting ahead of themselves.

“We just need to keep ticking these games off, win as many as possible and try to stay up there.”

County are at 22nd-place Cheltenham Town this afternoon and Franks is preparing for a difficult day, despite the fact that the Robins have not won a league game at Whaddon Road all season.

“It will be a tough game,” he said. “Any game away from home in this league teams will make it difficult for you.

“Speaking to the boys who have been here a few years, Cheltenham is always a game to look forward to for the fans and it should be a good atmosphere.”

And he’s not concerned about the threat posed by former County man Ben Tozer’s long throw.

“We haven’t done any specific work on it,” said Franks. “I think a lot of teams in this league have got a long throw and are big on set-pieces so we know we have to be organised. It’s something we need to deal with.”