FORMER captain Joss Labadie is set to return to action for Newport County AFC in tomorrow’s Checkatrade Trophy tie at Cheltenham Town and manager Michael Flynn is ready to rest several key men.

Labadie, who has not played since March, is expected to get some minutes off the bench at Whaddon Road after completing his recovery from an anterior cruciate ligament knee injury.

And Flynn says he will give some of his academy stars a taste of the action after a bruising 0-0 draw at Wrexham in Saturday’s FA Cup second-round tie.

Labadie was part of the BT Sport punditry team at the Racecourse and he revealed that he is hoping to get 20 minutes under his belt tomorrow.

Flynn was more cautious but he’s hopeful that his former skipper will feature.

“Possibly,” said the Exiles boss. “We were thinking about involving him [on Saturday] but he had a bit of an illness.

“He travelled up with us but it wasn’t worth it.”

Tyler Forbes, Scot Bennett, Matty Dolan, Robbie Willmott and Keanu Marsh-Brown all missed Saturday’s match due to injury and Flynn does not expect to have anyone back for tomorrow.

“I doubt it, which is a bit frustrating, but we’ll see,” he said.

“I might have to play a couple of the youngsters. That’s the way it’s going to have to be.

“Listen, you can’t have it all,” he added. “When you’ve got a small squad like us, you’ve got to be choosy and I might play a few [key men] and [still] lose.

“There are no guarantees and no right or wrong answers. I’ve got to do what I think is best for my players and for us going forward.”

Flynn was relieved to escape the Racecourse with a draw after what he felt was a disappointing display from his team on Saturday night.

The manager admitted his injury-hit squad could have done without a replay at Rodney Parade, which is likely to take place on December 11, but he’s happy to be in tonight’s third-round draw.

And he’s trying to take the positives after County dug in to frustrate their North Wales rivals.

“It wasn’t a good performance but we’re still in the cup and we’ve kept a clean sheet and if we can still be in the cup with a poor performance then there’s got to be a few positives in there,” he said.

“We didn’t string any passes together, our clearances were poor, our decision-making was poor but we defended very well.

“We stuck up for ourselves and handled what Wrexham threw at us and we live to fight another day.”