MANAGER Michael Flynn has challenged his fringe players to prove that they’re good enough to play for Newport County AFC over the next three weeks – or face being sold in January.

County head to Bradford City tomorrow with an injury-depleted squad, looking to build on victories in the FA Cup and Trophy and end a run of three successive defeats in League Two.

Flynn has been frustrated with his side’s poor finishing in recent weeks and he admitted after Tuesday’s penalty-shootout win at Brighton & Hove Albion under-21s in the Trophy that he is on the lookout for goalscorers in January.

And that means there will be departures in January, with the Exiles boss warning some of his players that they have to impress over the Christmas period if they want to stay at the club.

“There will be players leaving,” he said.

“I know that there is a little bit of room for us to do something first

“But for the squad numbers and the good of the players who are not playing, I’ll be honest with them and let them know if they’re in my plans or not.

“And they’ve got just under three weeks now to change my mind.

“I’m not an ogre who rules by an iron fist. If somebody is putting in the work and putting in the performances, I’m quite open to them changing my mind. It’s down to them.”

South Wales Argus:

County are down to 11th in the League Two table after defeat at Colchester United and at home to Salford City and Oldham Athletic.

They have not won in the league since beating Scunthorpe United 2-1 at Rodney Parade on October 19 and the postponements of the trips to Cheltenham Town and Grimsby Town means they have lost further ground on their rivals.

Flynn believes they can still challenge for promotion but he expects the next few weeks to be tough before he is able to strengthen the squad in January.

“We’ve lost a few in the league, but let’s not forget where we’re at,” said the manager.

“We’ve had 10 out injured, we’ve missed big players from near enough the start of the season, and we’ve got some fantastic results.

“The performances could be better, but the boys have dug in and now we need to hang in there and get to January when we can refresh things.

“We’ll have a lot of injured players back by then as well so it’s not all doom and gloom,” he added.

“We’re in a good position with the games in hand. I know we’ve got to win them, but it’s not like we’re down the bottom of the table. There’s a lot to look forward to.

“In March when we lost at Northampton, did we think we’d get in the play-offs? No. No chance.

“But we don’t want to have to do that much again, because it doesn’t always happen.

“We’ve got six league games now [before the FA Cup third-round tie at Millwall on January 4] and we’ve just got to dig in and get as many points as we can before the window opens and I try to strengthen the squad.”

Flynn will hope to have defender Mark O'Brien back for tomorrow's trip to Valley Parade, but the match may come too soon for fellow centre-back Mickey Demetriou.

Kyle Howkins is ruled out due to concussion protocols, while Scot Bennett, Robbie Willmott, Joss Labadie and Keanu Marsh-Brown have all missed the last two matches due to injury.

Dan Leadbitter and Ade Azeez are also still recovering from long-term injuries.

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