NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn believes Wrexham boss Sam Ricketts is playing “mind games” by suggesting that the Exiles are the favourites to win tomorrow night’s FA Cup showdown at the Racecourse.

Flynn has great respect for Ricketts and his assistant Carl Darlington, who he knows through the FAW Trust coaching system, and he revealed that there has been plenty of contact between the two camps since the draw was made.

But the County manager is confident that he can outwit his opposite number in front of the BT Sport cameras (kick-off 8pm).

Ricketts told the media yesterday: “It will be a great tie. We are not the favourites. We are at home but we are not favourites.

“Newport are doing really well in the league above us, so they will naturally come here expecting to win the game.”

In response to those comments, Flynn said: “That’s Sam playing the game. I think he’s started the mind games already.

“He’s a great lad and we get on really well. We’ve had a few texts since the draw.

“Carl Darlington is there as well, who I get on really well with.

“But I’m hoping that they hate me on Saturday night because it means we’ve won.”

Knowing how thorough Ricketts and Darlington’s preparations will be, Flynn is hoping to surprise them this weekend.

“I can’t speak highly enough of Sam,” he added. “He’s a very intelligent young manager.

“He’s had a very good career and I’m full of praise for him.

“But I’m hoping they’ll confuse themselves with all the analysis.

“We have a saying on the coaching course that you can suffer from paralysis by analysis and I’m hoping they have a bit of that.

“They won’t know whether we’re going to play four at the back or three at the back so it’s a little conundrum for them.”

Both Flynn and Ricketts have been heavily linked to the vacant manager’s job at League One Shrewsbury Town over the past fortnight.

At the time of writing, Ricketts was the odds-on favourite for the role but the Shropshire Star is reporting that Flynn is no longer in the running.

And the man himself is adamant that his only focus is getting his hometown club into the third round.

“I’m not going anywhere,” said Flynn. “It’s never been talked about [inside the club].

“I’ve kept the same stance – I’ve never had any contact.

“All I’m focused on is Newport County and that’s all I’ve been focused on since I got the job.”

County could be unchanged from Tuesday’s impressive win over Northampton Town, which saw them climb to fourth in the League Two table.

Scot Bennett, Robbie Willmott, Tyler Forbes and Joss Labadie are unlikely to be fit but Matty Dolan and Keanu Marsh-Brown could return from injury.

“There are one or two that we’re waiting on and I’m hoping they will make it,” said Flynn. “If not then we’ll go with what we had on Tuesday evening.”