NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn is on the hunt for an experienced centre-back to replace broken-leg victim Mickey Demetriou, but he’s laughed off suggestions that he could tempt former Wales international James Collins to Rodney Parade.

Demetriou could be ruled out for up to 14 weeks with a broken fibula bone sustained during the first half of Saturday's 1-0 win over Plymouth Argyle.

Kyle Howkins scored the winner against Plymouth after replacing Demetriou and, playing alongside Mark O’Brien, he helped County keep a third clean sheet in a row in the league with last night’s 0-0 draw at Walsall.

Flynn also has summer signings Marvel Ekpiteta, aged 23, and Lazar Stojsavljevic, aged 21, who can play in central defence but he is looking to add more experienced cover.

“Losing Mickey is a massive setback because he’s someone who’s played every game for the last two seasons,” said the Exiles boss.

“It’s a huge setback and I’ll be trying my hardest to bring another one in.

“I need experience," he added. "I need to bring somebody in who has played in the league, but that is easier said than done.

“I’ve made a few enquiries, but it’s never that easy.

“The board have been understanding and I know that they’ll help me all they can.”

Newport-born Collins, who is a free agent after he was released by Ipswich Town in the summer, could fit the bill.

The veteran defender, who turns 36 on Friday, went to school with Flynn at St Joseph's High and he revealed in January that his old friend had tried to recruit him last season.

But, asked if he would give Collins another call, Flynn said: “No. I think James lives down south in London and I’m sure he’ll be pretty close to a deal with somebody closer to home.

“I still think he can play at a higher level than League Two, but you never know.”

Flynn also revealed that Ekpiteta or Stojsavljevic could go out in loan to make room for a new arrival.

“I might have to sacrifice one – get one out – to get this one in,” he said.

“One of them might have to go out and play some games to give them some experience and get them ready for what we brought them here for, because they’ve got potential.”

South Wales Argus:

Demetriou’s injury is the most serious of a number of fitness worries for County ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Crewe Alexandra.

Midfielders Scot Bennett [quad] and Matty Dolan [hamstring] both missed the draw at Walsall, while Joss Labadie [hamstring] and Robbie Willmott picked up strains at Bescot Stadium.

Striker Jamille Matt is also carrying a knock and fellow front man Ade Azeez [Achilles] is out until the New Year.

“The injuries have absolutely killed me,” said Flynn.

“Joss Labadie felt his hamstring early on and he couldn’t open up so we had to take him off.

“Robbie wasn’t confident of opening up either.

“We’ve gone from a really fit and strong squad to the bare bones at the minute.

“They could be struggling for Saturday.

“Dolan and Bennett aren’t far away but it’s still that precaution – I can’t rush them, put them in and then have them out for six weeks.

“We’ll assess them up to Saturday.”

Read more: Walsall 0 Newport County 0 - match report