MANAGER Michael Flynn says the challenge of reviving Newport County AFC's promotion bid is tougher than the Great Escape because of the talent at his disposal.

The manager has been in the Rodney Parade hotseat since 2017 when he led the club to a miraculous escape when seemingly doomed to relegation.

The 40-year-old is now at the other end of the table and faces a different challenge as he plots how to get the Exiles' season back on track.

County were going great guns for the first half of the campaign and they were setting the pace at the start of January.

However, they are now clinging onto a play-off spot after a horrendous run of form that has seen them take just eight points from their last 12 games.

County have won just twice since December 8 – against struggling Grimsby away and home – and have had a miserable time due to a combination of defensive slips, red cards, the Rodney Parade pitch and the loss of loan stars Scott Twine and Brandon Cooper.

21.02.21 Newport County v Forest Green Rovers, Sky Bet League 2 - Newport County manager Michael Flynn, centre, watches the match

21.02.21 Newport County v Forest Green Rovers, Sky Bet League 2 - Newport County manager Michael Flynn, centre, watches the match

While it was a shot to nothing in 2017, Flynn now has to cope with great expectations.

"It's always a test. When you are at the top it's how you can keep things going, when you are at the bottom it's how you can get out of it," he said.

"We need to start winning, it's as simple as that. I test myself every day and I don't know all the answers, that's why I'm learning and will keep learning until the day I die."

Asked if it's as tough now as it was when starting the Great Escape, Flynn replied: "I'd say it's tougher now because we have got a better team now, we have better players and a better squad."

Flynn was quick to state that Sunday's loss to Forest Green was caused by mistakes and not the Parade pitch.

However, the manager admitted that his squad were not enjoying home comforts in NP19.

21.02.21 Newport County v Forest Green Rovers, Sky Bet League 2 - Josh Davison of Forest Green Rovers shoots to score the opening goal

21.02.21 Newport County v Forest Green Rovers, Sky Bet League 2 - Josh Davison of Forest Green Rovers shoots to score the opening goal

"It is draining the players," said Flynn, whose side have nine more games in Newport. "Other teams have only got to play here once. It's draining the players and sucking the confidence out of them.

"But we are telling them about not making mistakes, doing things in the right areas, putting the ball in the box, winning the second balls, all those things and then they took one short free-kick [leading to the opener]. It's crazy."

County escape the challenges of Rodney Parade on Wednesday evening when they take on Walsall at Bescot Stadium.

"We almost have to draw a line under it," said Flynn after the Forest Green loss. "The only way that you are going to get confidence back by working hard and winning football matches."

County have midfielder Scot Bennett back from his three-match suspension for the trip to the West Midlands.