DEFENDER Mark O’Brien is convinced that Newport County AFC have the strength in depth to cope without his good friend Mickey Demetriou.

Exiles boss Michael Flynn revealed after Tuesday’s 0-0 draw at Walsall that Demetriou could be out for up to 14 weeks with a broken fibular sustained during last Saturday’s 1-0 win over Plymouth Argyle.

O’Brien feels for his fellow centre-back and former housemate, but he’s confident that he and summer signing Kyle Howkins can maintain County’s impressive recent defensive record.

“I’m obviously devastated for Mickey,” said the Irishman.

“I’ve lived with him before and I am very close to him and he’s a player that you know you’re going to get 60 games a season out of [usually].

“It’s going to be very tough for him because he’s a man of routine so for him to have to put his feet up and then go through recovery will be difficult.

“But he’s a great professional and everyone knows that he is going to come back fitter and stronger from it.”

South Wales Argus:

In the meantime, Flynn is aiming to bring in another experienced defender.

But O’Brien believes he and Howkins have formed a solid partnership over the past two games with clean sheets against Plymouth and Walsall.

“We’re delighted with that,” he said. “As a defender, you’re first objective is to keep them out so obviously it’s a confidence boost for the defenders and the whole squad.

“And, after the fixtures we’ve had, to keep teams out and limit them to very few chances is great.

“The squad is full of confidence and the lads who have stepped in have hit the ground running and done an amazing job.

“The manager has done well to bring in the likes of Kyle,” added the 26-year-old.

“He’s come in and got into the swing of things straightaway and, as we’ve seen in the last couple of performances, he fits right in. It’s brilliant for him and it’s great to play alongside him.

“Both full-backs have been amazing too. We have a great team spirit here and all the new lads who have come in have added to that.”

South Wales Argus:

And O’Brien says Demetriou’s absence will not affect the way he plays.

“I wouldn’t say it’s more responsibility on me because I’ll always give 100 per cent, as all the lads will,” he said.

“Whether I have Mickey, Kyle or a youngster alongside me, I know I’m going to have to give it my all.”

The Exiles host League Two leaders Crewe Alexandra at Rodney Parade on Saturday looking to extend their club-record unbeaten run.

“To go 14 games unbeaten in the league and to have 10 clean sheets along the way is amazing,” he said. "If we can keep this momentum going, there will be more teams worrying about us than us worrying about them.”

Read more: Newport County boss dismisses chances of signing James Collins