Newport County’s FA Cup heroes aim to revive league hopes against Mansfield Town

Michael Flynn Player/Manager of Newport County  (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Michael Flynn Player/Manager of Newport County (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Newport County will be trying to revive their fading play-off hopes against Mansfield Town on Saturday.

Despite their FA Cup heroics, the Exiles have dropped down to 14th place after only winning one of their nine League Two games since the end of November.

After finishing 11th last season, Newport County’s main aim was to improve on that, target a top 10 finish, and hopefully challenge for the play-offs.

After a really good start to the season, it looked as if a promotion push would be possible but things have tailed off in the league over the past few months with the FA Cup once again proving something of a distraction.

Although there is still time to get back in the hunt for a top seven place, on current form another mid-table finish looks most likely.

Boss Michael Flynn has done a good job with limited resources since he replaced Graham Westley in March 2017, saving his hometown club from relegation in miraculous circumstances and building on it with that mid-table finish last season.

Expectations have been raised by promising starts to last season and again this campaign and there is a bit of frustration that the team has not been able to sustain a top seven challenge.

But the team has repeatedly managed to raise their game in the FA Cup and wins over Leeds and Leicester and draws with Spurs and Middlesbrough, who they beat in last night’s replay, have boosted the club’s profile and brought in plenty of money.

Front pairing Padraig Amond and Jamille Matt have 33 goals between them already this season so they should pose plenty of problems. Amond is top scorer on 18 so far and he is a constant menace.

When the team is on song, most of the chances for the front two are created by Robbie Willmott from the right flank and he is also a threat on set-pieces.

Newport had few injury problems ahead of last night’s FA Cup replay win over Middlesbrough.

Centre back Fraser Franks could return from an ankle injury at the weekend and experienced midfielders Joss Labadie, who played last night, and Andrew Crofts are now fit again after respective knee and hamstring problems.

Deadline day signings Ade Azeez and Harry McKirdy – both forwards – could be in line to make their debuts against Mansfield.