FORGET the all-Welsh FA Cup showdown at Wrexham next Saturday, tomorrow’s League Two clash with Northampton Town at Rodney Parade is far more important as far as Michael Flynn is concerned.

A 2-1 defeat at Cheltenham Town at the weekend saw Newport County AFC drop from third to fifth in the table and Flynn took the blame, admitting that he picked the wrong starting XI at Whaddon Road.

The Exiles boss is promising to make changes for the visit of Keith Curle’s Cobblers but a lengthy injury list means he doesn’t have much scope for tinkering.

“In the first half we were trying to play a game without a midfield of [Joss] Labadie, Crofty [Andrew Crofts], [Robbie] Willmott, [Matty] Dolan and [Scot] Bennett,” said Flynn.

“They were all missing and it showed where we were short.”

Cheltenham led 2-0 at half-time as Will Boyle and Tyrone Barnett took advantage of errors from Fraser Franks and Joe Day to score.

Andrew Crofts and Mark O’Brien replaced Charlie Cooper and Cameron Pring for the second half and County improved with Mickey Demetriou missing a late penalty before Antoine Semenyo pulled one goal back in the final minute.

“The only positive was that Mark O’Brien and Andrew Crofts got 45 minutes and they looked very good,” added Flynn.

“Those two were superb when they came on.

“Crofty wasn’t ready to start but maybe Mark O’Brien was and I’m a little bit disappointed I didn’t go with three at the back.”

Flynn praised his side for making a game of it in the second half but he wants to see a big improvement against Northampton.

And he’s not even thinking about Wrexham yet as he focuses on keeping his side in the promotion places.

“I’m not interested in the FA Cup – we’ve got Northampton first,” said the manager.

“I know I’ll get a reaction. I had a reaction at half-time. I thought we were the better team in the second half, without really creating much so I had a reaction.

“The one thing I didn’t want was for them to crumble and conceded four or five again, like has happened in the past.

“It’s a credit to them that they were able to get the goal and it’s a shame we missed the penalty,” he added.

“We all miss penalties but Mickey won’t be taking penalties again for us.”

That won’t be the only change for tomorrow. Asked if any of the injured players will be fit to return, Flynn said: “No, maybe not. But I know I won’t be picking that team that I picked in the first half, that’s for sure.

Dolan and Willmott both have hamstring problems.

“Matty’s played for the last two weeks injured,” explained the boss. “He’s not been fully right, if I’m honest. And [on Saturday] I thought it was a step too far.

“If he’d played it could have gone and it could have been a bad one.

“I’ll never jeopardise a player’s health or career and I had to bite the bullet.

“With Robbie the scan result has come back and it was a little bit worse than we thought so it’s a few more weeks on the sidelines [for him].”