NEWPORT County AFC’s players did Michael Flynn proud in their FA Cup clash against Premier League giants – now he’s told them to finish the job and earn promotion from League Two.

The Exiles squad have a well-earned day off on Monday after a draining round three clash with Brighton and Hove Albion.

Solly March’s 90th minute strike looked to have put the Seagulls through only for an Adam Webster own goal to lead to extra time on an energy-sapping Rodney Parade pitch and then penalty shootout anguish.

County won’t dwell on their exit as preparations will start for a key period in their bid to climb to League One, starting against promotion rivals Salford in Newport on Saturday.

“I should never doubt this group, they keep going until the end,” said Flynn. “I am really proud.

“I can't speak highly enough of them and now we have 26 games and 26 cup finals to finish off a season which has had so much promise. Let's make sure we have something at the end of it.

“The work rate and some of the quality at times was exceptional. They all stuck together, they all kept to their roles and responsibilities.”

South Wales Argus: Ryan Taylor's penalty was superbRyan Taylor's penalty was superb

County have beaten Leeds, Leicester and Middlesbrough in recent FA Cup runs while this season they dumped Swansea and Watford out of the Carabao Cup before shootout anguish against Newcastle.

The manner of the display against the Seagulls gives the manager even more confidence that his hard-working group can achieve something special in 2020/21.

“It was a fantastic performance against a Premier League team. There are players in their team earning more in a week than these players are on in a year, two years even,” said Flynn.

“It's a massive gulf and we took them right to the wire, nearly nicked it as well when there was an unbelievable block.

“I am massively impressed with the way that we went about things. That's the second time that we have taken a Premier League team to penalties, so it's not a fluke or by coincidence.

“We work hard, we have a good group who listen hard to what we are asking them to do and they have put the club on the map again.”

County are a point behind League Two leaders Carlisle with a game in hand.

Fourth-placed Forest Green are a point behind them after playing a fixture more while the gap to Salford, who are just outside the play-offs in a congested table, is just five.

The Exiles will have Tristan Abrahams back for the fixture against Salford in Newport after he missed the cup tie due to coronavirus. The striker will be back in training with the rest of the squad on Tuesday.