BOSS Michael Flynn hopes that Newport County AFC’s stronger squad can prove his mentor Lennie Lawrence wrong by marrying a League Two promotion push with another FA Cup run, writes Chris Kirwan.

The Exiles entertain Salford City in the famous competition this afternoon (kick-off 1pm) with the winners progressing to round three when there is the chance of drawing a big gun.

County have already enjoyed a memorable run in the Carabao Cup when they dumped out Swansea City and Watford of the Championship before being edged out on penalties by Premier League side Newcastle United, with that clash providing a timely financial boost courtesy of live coverage on Sky Sports.

In recent seasons Flynn & Co have pitted their wits against Manchester City, Tottenham, Leicester City, Leeds, Middlesbrough and Blackburn in the FA Cup, exploits that have come at a cost to their League Two form.

South Wales Argus:

This season the Exiles have even more to lose from knockout football as they sit on top of the table with a terrific chance of pushing for promotion to League One.

County have nine league games between now and round three on the weekend of January 9 but Flynn’s desire to progress is not diminished.

“It's going to be hectic and hopefully we come through unscathed with a lot of points and the third round of the FA Cup to look forward to,” he said.

“It's always tough at this level and Lennie Lawrence (former County management consultant) would always say that cup success means league failure.

“I didn't believe him at first but the more we did that, the more it happened. We've got a better squad this season so I am hoping that we might get away with both.

"Looking back it did affect our league form, 100 per cent. It's the injuries we picked up, the travelling, the excitement around the big games.”

South Wales Argus:

County suffered a penalty shootout defeat to Salford when the sides met in the EFL Trophy semi-finals in Newport last season (the final against Portsmouth is yet to be played because of the coronavirus pandemic).

This tie will also be settled on the day so Flynn added practice from the spot to their training schedule.

County are unbeaten in League Two on home soil but seventh-placed Salford will be a huge test, says Flynn.

“They have an unbelievable squad for this level and have spent big to bring in quality,” said the Exiles boss. “They should be one of the favourites for the league, quite comfortably really.

“They will be a handful because they have pace, creativity, solid defenders. They have a big squad to choose from and there are players there who are on a fortune.”