AFTER some minor grumblings at Gresty Road, it’s time to put any disappointment to bed and look forward to what is sure to be an historic week for Newport County AFC.

Michael Flynn’s men should have seen off 10-man Crewe Alexandra but after three tough away games they remain unbeaten.

And with no match tonight they can reflect on a hugely encouraging start to the new campaign.

But, more importantly, Flynn and his players will be preparing for two exciting fixtures over the next eight days – the League Two trip to Coventry City this Saturday and the Carabao Cup clash at Leeds United a week today.

When he took over from Graham Westley in March with the Exiles 11 points from safety and odds on for a return to non-league football, the manager couldn’t have dreamed that he’d be planning for two such mouth-watering matches.

Rather than back-to-back trips to the Ricoh Arena and Elland Road, the Exiles looked destined to be heading to the likes of Dover Athletic and Maidenhead United in the National League this season.

It’s a week to savour and another reason to be thankful for last season’s Great Escape and Mark O’Brien’s priceless late winner over Notts County at Rodney Parade in May.

Many County fans will not have seen their team since then and will be counting down the days until the long-awaited first home match of the season against Chesterfield on August 26.

But anyone lucky enough to have the time and money to hit the road for Coventry and Leeds will be relishing both journeys this week.

South Wales Argus:

County and Coventry have met in two pre-season friendlies at Spytty Park in recent years (above) but you have to go back to 1961 for the last time they faced each other in a competitive match.

Bobby Evans’ Ironsides, who would eventually finish bottom of the third division table with just 22 points from 46 games that season, were beaten 3-0 at Highfield Road in August 1961.

And two days before Christmas that year, the Sky Blues triumphed 2-1 in Newport in what was the last competitive clash between the teams. Now, a mere 56 years later, the two clubs finally meet as equals once again.

And you have to go back even further to recall County’s one and only meeting with Leeds – all the way back to January 1949 and the club’s best ever run in the FA Cup.

Guido Roffi, Edward Carr and Leonard Comley scored the goals as third division County beat second division Leeds 3-1 in front of 31,500 at Elland Road in the third round.

Tom Bromilow’s team went on to beat first division Huddersfield Town 3-1 in a replay at their Leeds Road home after a thrilling 3-3 draw at Somerton Park.

And their stirring FA Cup run only came to an end in the fifth round with a narrow defeat after extra-time at Portsmouth.

A crowd of 48,581 packed into Fratton Park to see Pompey, who would go on to be crowned first division champions three months later, edge out their plucky visitors 3-2.

The players of 2017 are looking forward to following in the footsteps of their illustrious predecessors.

“It’s a great draw away to Leeds,” said defender Mickey Demetriou this week.

“It would have been at home but unfortunately the ground is not ready yet.

“But we’ll take that on the chin and I’d rather go to Elland Road than play at home anyway.

“It’s a ground that I haven’t visited yet so I’m looking forward to it.

“Hopefully it will earn the club some money. We wanted a big team and Leeds United have obviously got a very good squad but we’ll give it our best shot.

“We’ve got a chance to cause another upset,” he added.

“It was an upset against Southend when a lot of people probably wrote us off against a League One side but we played them off the park.

“It’s another long trip on the road but the fans have been brilliant, as they are all the time.

“Hopefully we will have a nice following again. Some of them might not have been to the Ricoh or Elland Road.

“You wouldn’t have believed we’d be going to these places not so long ago but we played well at Southend to earn that draw.

“Hopefully we can go to Coventry and Leeds and do well again.”

The aforementioned Westley remains out in the cold following his sacking in March.

He has again attempted to take credit for the team's survival last season but, in common with most Exiles fans, I'm almost certain that we wouldn't be heading to Coventry and Leeds this week if he was still in charge.