NEWPORT County AFC could go top of League Two on Saturday – but so could fifth-placed opponents Salford City in an extremely tight battle for automatic promotion.

Leaders Carlisle United were denied the chance to open up a four-point gap over the Exiles on Tuesday night when they suffered a second wasted trip to Harrogate.

The original fixture on December 29 had been abandoned after only 10 minutes due to a frozen pitch and the rearranged clash was called off by referee Seb Stockbridge at its scheduled 7pm kick-off time as the floodlights could not be switched on.

Northern Powergrid had informed the hosts that the issue, which also affected 2,500 neighbouring properties, might not be resolved until 10.30pm.

While Carlisle were frustrated in Yorkshire, Salford were celebrating in Scunthorpe thanks to a late mishap.

After back-to-back defeats to start 2021, Ian Henderson capitalised on a defensive error to snatch victory in the 89th minute and lift the Ammies up to fifth.

Just when it looked like honours would finish even, Mark Howard and defender Jordan Clarke failed to deal with a ball into the penalty area and the veteran forward nipped in to slot into an empty net.

Salford are now one of five teams that could be top on Saturday night while the gap from leaders Carlisle to Morecambe, who are outside the play-offs, is just five points.

The coronavirus pandemic means that clubs have played between 20 and 22 of their 46 fixtures.

The battle for the top three looks likely to go to the wire and the Exiles, who led from October until hit by postponements allowed Carlisle to leapfrog them, have a key period before February.

They host Salford on Saturday, head to sixth-placed Cheltenham on Tuesday then travel to Oldham, who are 15th but won at Rodney Parade in December, a week on Saturday.

Carlisle visit Rodney Parade on Tuesday, January 26 before a trip to Harrogate on Saturday, January 30.

Michael Flynn will hope to have bolstered his squad ahead of a February schedule featuring six games, four of them in Newport.

This weekend Carlisle head to Mansfield, County entertain Salford, third-placed Cambridge travel to Colchester and fourth-placed Forest Green Rovers host Port Vale.

Five teams could be top of the table on Saturday night - yet the form team in the league are eighth-placed Morecambe and seventh-placed Crawley.

Evidence of it being a tough league comes from Southend, who are bottom of the table but fourth in the form guide with 13 points from their last six games, the same as the leaders.