NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn has made some tough calls when selecting his XI for the League Two opener – and has warned his starters that they are under serious pressure to keep their spots.

After the 2-0 Carabao Cup upset of Swansea and a 1-0 loss to Cheltenham in the EFL Trophy, both at Rodney Parade, the Exiles get the real stuff under way at Scunthorpe United today.

County haven't played in League Two since the March loss at Carlisle and plenty has changed in Flynn's squad.

The manager signed seven players this summer – Liam Shephard, Ryan Taylor, Kevin Ellison, David Longe-King and loanees Saikou Janneh, Scott Twine and Brandon Cooper.

The coaching staff gave 20 players starting chances in the cup games and the performances gave Flynn some selection headaches before getting on the bus to Lincolnshire yesterday.

The defence shut out the Swans impressively with Matty Dolan in between Kyle Howkins and Mickey Demetriou but then Cooper (pictured), on loan from Swansea, made an accomplished debut against Cheltenham.

South Wales Argus:

Two-goal hero Tristan Abrahams, Scott Twine and Lewis Collins were lively in game one then experienced forwards Padraig Amond and Ryan Taylor plus tricky Saikou Janneh got a chance in game two.

"I'd much rather have those calls than having my hand forced into who I can play,"said Flynn.

"It's good to have decisions and that's what I get paid to do – whoever is selected needs to keep hold of their shirt."

Flynn believes the Exiles have got fierce competition for places at the moment but knows keeping players off the treatment table is key to keeping it that way.

After starting a month late because of the coronavirus pandemic, County cram 46 League Two games into 34 weeks before the regular season finale at Southend's Roots Hall on May 8.

It is a schedule that will stretch all squads and Newport cannot afford a repeat of 2019/20 when depleted resources played a big part in a mid-table finish.

South Wales Argus:

"Looking back over the season, we had too many injuries that weakened us in a lot of games," said Flynn.

"That's something that we can't afford, we need everybody fit and playing well. Hopefully we can do that this season.

"We've got a good balance (to the squad). It's even harder this season with all the games crammed in and we need to keep everybody fresh.

"I said after Swansea that we were treating those two games as extended pre-season games, we've just concentrated on fitness and performance, and coming through injury-free.

"We are down to the nitty gritty now and people are playing for their places. It's down to the players now."

When Flynn's selection is made public at 2pm it will also indicate which formation he has plumped for after switching from wing-backs to a flat four in midweek.

Whatever option the manager goes for, the demand will be to start the campaign on the front foot.

"It’s good to be back, the regular football season in the league is what it’s all about and it’s been a long lay-off since the last game. It’s good to be up and running," said Flynn.

"We’ve got to start well. We will have to see how the season pans out but we will be playing every game to win, that’s for sure.

"Targets we always keep to ourselves. The boys know what we expect but first and foremost, let’s get off to a good start."

County did a 2-1 double over Scunthorpe last season, winning at Rodney Parade thanks to strikes from Padraig Amond and Josh Sheehan then repeating the trick at Glanford Park thanks to Jamille Matt and Amond.