NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn admits it is inevitable that some of the club’s best players will leave following Saturday’s League Two play-off final defeat to Tranmere Rovers.

County, who were reduced to 10 men after Mark O’Brien was sent off in the 89th minute, lost in agonising fashion at Wembley as Connor Jennings headed home the only goal of the game in the 119th minute.

And Flynn knows that missing out on promotion to League One will make it much tougher to keep his squad together this summer.

O’Brien, Dan Butler, Mickey Demetriou, Andrew Crofts, Joss Labadie, Matty Dolan, Josh Sheehan, Will Randall and Joe Day are all out of contract at the end of June.

Flynn accepts that some will move on to play at a higher level, but he is close to agreeing at least two new deals.

“I’m already planning for next year and we’re close to having a couple done,” said the Exiles boss.

“We’re going to lose a couple, that’s obvious. So I’ve got a big job to do.

“Obviously, I don’t want them to go – they’re my best players. But there’s nothing I can do about that.

“They’ve got to take an opportunity if it comes to earn more money and play at a higher level.”

South Wales Argus:

Flynn was angered by referee Ross Joyce’s failure to point to the spot when Jamille Matt appeared to be fouled in the box five minutes from the end of normal time and called for the use of VAR technology in play-off finals.

But he was also full of praise for his players’ efforts in their 62nd and final game of the season.

“I’m absolutely devastated for the players, they gave me their all,” added the manager.

“They showed so much fight, so much determination.

“I had to make subs and the subs that we brought on didn’t help us enough, but the boys who were out there were fantastic.

“The likes of Jamille Matt, Padraig Amond, Robbie Willmott, Dan Butler and Mickey Demetriou – those boys were dead on their feet at the end.

“They gave absolutely everything and I can’t ask for any more.

"They should be proud of themselves, because that’s a good trait to have.

“I told them that I could live to 250 and I don’t think I’d have a group of boys as good as I’ve got here.

“They are a fantastic group of lads and I’ve told them to get their heads up.

“It's not the time now, but I’ll sit down and speak to them in due course and we’ll have to go again.”

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