FORGET the top seven, Newport County AFC manager Michael Flynn admits his side will be lucky to finish in the top 17 in League Two if they continue to perform like they did against Cambridge United on Saturday.

County dropped to 13th in the table after a 1-0 defeat to the U’s at Rodney Parade and they are now nine points below seventh-placed Cheltenham Town with 17 games left to play.

Flynn’s men still have three games in hand over many of the teams above them but he was not in the mood to discuss a play-off push after such a disappointing defeat.

“If we play like that, we won’t be in the top 17,” scoffed the Exiles boss as he looked ahead to tomorrow’s home clash with Walsall.

“I’m not getting carried away. I’m not even thinking about that (the play-offs), I’m just thinking about winning the next game.

“And they’ve had a good result (a 2-1 win away) against Forest Green so it’s not going to be easy.”

Flynn was left “shell-shocked” by the dismal display against Cambridge, which he described as “very poor” and “nowhere near what we expect, what we worked on, and the nowhere near the levels that the players have been at lately.”

Mark O’Brien, George Nurse, Ryan Haynes, Ashley Baker and Matty Dolan were all missing due to injury at the weekend and County then lost Josh Sheehan to a badly gashed foot midway through the first half.

Flynn is not sure how many, if any, will be available to face Walsall.

“I don’t know how bad Josh’s injury is yet,” said the manager.

“There was obviously quite a bit of blood there.

South Wales Argus:

“Ryan Haynes is still out, but that’s not long-term.

“Nurse went down after Tuesday night’s game. He felt sore and he hasn’t recovered.

“And Matty Dolan felt his hamstring after Tuesday so we’ve gone from a full bill of health to a lot out now [again].”

The absence of Haynes and Nurse meant centre-back Mickey Demetriou had to fill in at left-back, a position he hasn’t played for several years.

“It was unfair on Mickey but I didn’t really have any other choice,” said Flynn, who is open to making changes for tomorrow’s clash with the Saddlers.

“I don’t know,” he said. “It was a strong team. It was a strong bench on paper, but we don’t play on paper.”

January loan signings Otis Khan, Billy Waters and Dale Gorman could all be in line for their first start.

Asked if he would shake things up, he added: “If I do, not one of them can have one complaint.

“We got booed off, and rightly so.

“I can’t put my finger on what went wrong. There are loads of excuses but I’m not going to [use them].

“I didn’t see that performance coming.”

Read more: Newport County boss 'shell-shocked' after dismal defeat to Cambridge United