GREAT Escape hero Mark O’Brien admits tomorrow’s FA Cup replay at Wembley has distracted Newport County AFC from their promotion push but he’s determined to enjoy the occasion.

O’Brien famously scored the last-minute winner to keep County in League Two last year and he’s convinced that they can earn promotion to League One this season.

Since drawing 1-1 with Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup fourth round at Rodney Parade the Exiles have lost successive league matches on the road at Lincoln City and Colchester United to slip to 11th in the table.

And O'Brien says tomorrow’s replay against Spurs at Wembley has played a part in that drop in form.

“We’ve tried not even thinking about it because, in hindsight, we probably could have done without it [the replay] with the games that we’ve had,” said the Dublin-born defender.

“It’s been a relentless run of fixtures but it’s a good one to pick ourselves up.

“We’ll go and enjoy the occasion and hopefully get a result but it’s maybe something we could have done without because of the way results have gone recently.

“We’ll enjoy it and then put all our focus back on the league because we know in the changing room that that’s the most important thing we’re trying to achieve this season.”

South Wales Argus:

O’Brien says the trip to the home of English football is a reward for the success the players have enjoyed this season and for the fans’ loyalty.

“It is going to be a great day for the fans going to Wembley and being proud of the team for getting there,” added the 25-year-old.

“And for the players it’s the least we deserve for the season we’re having so far.

“We proved at our place that we can be a match for them.

“Obviously it’s going to be different circumstances on a different pitch but we’re going to enjoy it and we’ll be going there looking for the win.”

O’Brien returned to the starting XI for the first time since before Christmas on Saturday and he’s hoping to retain his place tomorrow.

“I’ve been sitting in the wings and the lads have been on a great run so I’m happy to be back in the team,” he said.

“Everyone will be desperate to play and we will all want to keep our spot, not just for the Tottenham game but for the rest of the season.”