MANAGER Michael Flynn knows defeat is not an option at struggling Cambridge United tomorrow if Newport County AFC are to stay in the hunt for a place in the League Two play-offs.

Successive 0-0 draws at home to fellow promotion hopefuls Tranmere Rovers and Swindon Town over the past week have left County five points below seventh-placed Exeter City with a game in hand.

There are still 18 points to play for, but Flynn admits that they cannot afford to lose at the Abbey Stadium.

“If we lose and the gap gets to seven or eight points with five games to go then it’s going to be really difficult,” said the Exiles boss.

“It wouldn’t be over. We’d never give up, but it would be really difficult.

“It depends on what everybody else does, but we’ve just got to concentrate on what we do.

“We’ve got to get the three points and see where it takes us. We want to finish as well as we can, regardless of whether the play-offs are there or not.

“I think it was over by this time last year,” he added.

“If it all goes our way this weekend, we’ll be two point behind with a game in hand.

“That’s crazy because in the middle part of the season our away form wasn’t good enough.

“There are games where we should have picked up points and they would have been so crucial for us.

“That will be my frustration at the end of the season if we miss out by one or two points. That will be hard to take.”

Reflecting on the stalemates against Tranmere and Swindon, Flynn said: “It is tough to play on [the pitch at] Rodney Parade. It’s very bobbly and slippery. And that’s not excuses. Obviously, the opposition are finding it tough as well.

“I would have rather we’d won one and lost one and we should have beaten Tranmere and lost to Swindon. I would have taken that because it’s an extra point.

“But it is what it is. It’s not for a lack of trying, that’s for sure.”

And Flynn insists that the players are in a positive mood as they head to Cambridge today.

“They’re exactly the same as usual,” he said. “There’s no pressure, there’s no doom and gloom. They’re just a fantastic bunch to work with.

“They’re frustrating at times, but they’ve been amazing for a large part of the season.”

South Wales Argus:

Cambridge start the weekend in 20th place, eight points above the bottom two, and have lost their last five games against County. But Flynn is taking nothing for granted.

“I’ll take a 1-0 win now,” he said. “They’ve picked up under Colin [Calderwood] and it’s going to be a tough game.

“They’ve got some really good players who we need to watch out for.

“And we need to go there knowing that we need to be at our best to get the three points.

“It doesn’t mean anything that we’ve beaten them already, we’ve got to go there and do the business.

“They’ll be thinking they are near enough safe if they get one more win.”

Jamille Matt and Scot Bennett should be fit to play tomorrow, but reserve goalkeeper Nick Townsend is set to miss out again and Joss Labadie is a doubt after receiving stitches to gash in his ankle on Tuesday.

“We might be missing one or two this weekend, but the rest are ready to go and it’s good that we’ve got Scot Bennett back,” said the manager.

“He’s been really good for us [this season]. We probably could have risked him on Tuesday but we felt it was more beneficial to get that extra bit of training in him and not rush him. He’s raring to go now.

“It’s good that we’ve got near enough everyone back. We haven’t had that for a large part of the season and it’s affected us.

“It’s damaged us, especially away from home where you need that experience.”

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