NEWPORT County AFC will start 2021 on top of League Two but they will have to change their style because Rodney Parade is “a bit of a swamp”, according to one of their promotion rivals.

The Exiles were set to entertain Exeter City for their final fixture of 2020 on Tuesday evening only for the clash to be postponed less than two hours before kick-off.

County boss Michael Flynn, Grecians counterpart Matt Taylor and referee John Busby gathered earlier than planned at the ground and agreed that the fixture could not go ahead as planned.

Nonetheless, the Exiles are still setting the pace in the race for League One courtesy of second-placed Forest Green Rovers losing 2-1 at home to Crawley and third-place Carlisle United suffering an abandoned game at Harrogate when losing 1-0 after just 10 minutes.

County will look to record a first win since December 8 when, weather permitting, they entertain Southend United on Sautrday.

The Rodney Parade pitch took a battering on Boxing Day when the Dragons took on Cardiff Blues in torrential rain.

The situation wasn't helped by a coronavirus outbreak among the groundstaff that hindered post-match work.

Exeter boss Taylor was full of praise for the way that Flynn’s team have built from the back so far this season – but believes they will struggle to shine with the ball on the deck on Welsh soil in 2021.

"It doesn't look too bad standing away from it but the moment you step on it it's a bit of a swamp I'm afraid,” said Taylor, who briefly played for the Exiles in 2015.

"They had a game of rugby on it on Boxing Day and we knew that it was going to be a difficult surface no matter what.

"The amount of rainfall has been too much with standing water, so it's not safe to play.”

"That pitch is going to cause serious problems now that they are playing rugby on it as well,” he continued.

"Newport have played a fantastic brand of football so far this season, it will really be a shame to see them having to change.

"But that pitch will cause them a few problems I am afraid."

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Flynn, who praised ref Busby’s decision as “very, very sensible”, is confident that his squad have the ability to mix up their game in a push for promotion on the Parade pitch.

“It's not going to be great from now until the end of the season, which is not ideal for the way that we have been playing,” he admitted.

“We've just got to get on with it and we can't be making excuses. We've got a bunch of players who know what the pitch can be like; if they don't then they must be living on the moon.

“We've made sure that we are ready for both outcomes, whether it's a nice pitch or a damaged pitch.”

Flynn also reiterated his admiration for the groundstaff, stating that the downpour in Newport would have put the fixture at risk even if the Dragons had not played "With the amount of rain that we’ve had it still would have been a major doubt if there was only one team on there,” said the manager.

"That goes to show the amount of work and the effort that they put in. [Rodney Parade managing director] Mark Jones and Jon [Raymond, groundsman] should be very proud of the work that they put in.”

Southend have been in fine form lately but suffered a first loss since November when beaten 2-0 by Leyton Orient at Brisbane Road on Tuesday.