GOALKEEPER Nick Townsend is fit for Newport County AFC's League Two meeting with Southend United on Saturday – but he might have to settle for a place on the bench.

The stopper has been in impressive form for the league leaders after getting the nod ahead of Tom King at the start of the campaign.

The 26-year-old from the West Midlands has played in 24 games and kept seven clean sheets, while the Exiles have the sixth meanest defensive record in League Two.

Townsend produced a remarkable performance in the dramatic draw at Salford earlier this month but came off with a knee injury in the draw at Crawley Town on Boxing Day after making a mistake for the hosts' equaliser.

Wales squad member King came on for his first League Two outing of the season and could be in the XI for the first time since the FA Cup win against Salford in November.

"Nick is available for Saturday, whether or not he starts is a different question," said Flynn, who has made the decision but wants to keep the Shrimpers guessing.

"Tom would have played on Tuesday [in the postponed game against Exeter] and has been training superbly. His attitude has been exactly what I wanted from him.

"He has kept himself in very, very good shape and is actually doing more out of the team to try and get into the team, which is what every professional footballer should do.

"I've spoken to Tom and I understand his frustrations but he has reacted in the right way. That's how every footballer should be wanting to impress a manager."

King's exploits at the start of 2019/20 earned a Wales call-up and the 25-year-old was on the bench in the November internationals against the United States, Republic of Ireland and Finland, although he didn't follow teammate Josh Sheehan in winning a first cap.

Flynn is pleased that his selection headaches are not limited to the outfield players.

"I've said all along that we have got two number one goalkeepers and it's not very often that you get that," said the manager.

"We had it with Nick and Joe Day previously and now we have it with Tom and Nick. It's an area of strength for us."

Flynn, with the input of goalkeeping coach Jim Hollman, had a decision to make at the top of his teamsheet and he also has a welcome option up front.

Striker Ryan Taylor is back available after three months out, first with a hamstring injury and then with another blow.

"He was back and training with us for a while but he had a little setback," said Flynn, who has Tristan Abrahams, Padraig Amond and Jamie Proctor as other candidates to lead the line.

"It was nothing major but we have just been cautious because we didn't want to rush him or for him to break down.

"We saw a lot of quality from him at the start of the season in what he brings to the team, so I am pleased to have him back available for selection."

Flynn picked Abrahams up front against Crawley with Scott Twine in a supporting role.

There is still no update the on-loan midfielder with Swindon Town looking likely to recall the 21-year-old in January.

The Robins are battling relegation in League One but Twine is also out of contract at the end of the season.