NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn is hoping his players can deal with a “relentless” schedule as they aim to take their sensational FA Cup form into League Two.

Four days after their stunning cup triumph over Championship challengers Middlesbrough, County return to league action against Mansfield Town at Rodney Parade this afternoon.

Flynn’s men have slipped to 14th in the table and they face a hectic schedule over the coming weeks with MK Dons due in Newport next Tuesday before the visit of Manchester City in the fifth round of the cup on February 16.

The Exiles then go to bottom club Notts County three days later before a trip to Milton Keynes on February 23, and progress in the cup means they will now have to rearrange their home clash with Swindon Town.

“It’s been a fantastic week for the football club and one we’re all very proud of,” said Flynn.

“The players deserve all the credit – they’re the ones who went out there and produced the goods.

“The level of the performance on Tuesday night was one of the best I’ve seen them produce and it’s a marker for them.

“They need to keep those levels for the rest of the season.

“We’ve moved on to a big game against Mansfield already,” he added.

“It’s relentless. We’ve got games on Saturday, on Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday – it’s a bit like Groundhog Day.

“Nights like that against Middlesbrough do take it out of you, but we’ve got the adrenaline to carry us through the next few weeks.”

South Wales Argus:

Second-placed Mansfield have lost just three games all season and will be the favourites today, according to Flynn.

“We’re coming up against one of the best teams in the league with one of the biggest budgets in the league and it’s going to be tough,” said the manager.

“I think they’ve lost two out of 20 [in the league], and it’s going to be a very tough game.

“It’s a league game, it’ll be a different atmosphere with a smaller crowd and Mansfield will be the favourites.

“They’re at the top for a reason and we’ve got to raise our game to get anything out of it.

“If we don’t, then we’ll end up losing. They’re a strong team and I’m almost certain that they’ll go up.”

The Rodney Parade pitch could also pose problems this afternoon.

“The pitch will be heavy, it’s going to be very difficult,” said Flynn.

“It took a right battering on Tuesday, which is no fault of anybody.

“The groundstaff do a fantastic job but there’s been 60 games on there already and there’ll be another 20 before the end of the season.

“Any pitch at any level would take a hammering with that workload.”

County could welcome back defender Fraser Franks from an ankle injury and new signings Ade Azeez and Harry McKirdy could be in line for their debuts.

“Fraser is back in training,” said the boss. “Ade is looking sharper and he might be one I’m thinking about, but it might be more towards Tuesday that I’m looking at for Ade and Harry.

“Harry had a little niggle and Ade is such a finely tuned athlete – he’s so quick and there’s not a drop of fat on him.

“We need to make sure that he’s up to speed with the way we play.

“And we need to get him in a condition where he doesn’t get injured, because the pitches are heavy now and we need to give him the right conditioning to hit the ground running. Hopefully he’ll go out and do that.”

South Wales Argus:

Goalkeeper Joe Day is also set to play today after racing from the pitch after the final whistle on Tuesday to discover that wife Lizzie had given birth to twin girls at the Royal Gwent Hospital.

"Joe’s fine, he hasn’t dropped the twins yet," joked Flynn.

"That just added to the magic of Tuesday and what a fantastic present to go home to for him – two beautiful twins.

"He had Wednesday and Thursday off but he’s back in now."

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