A season to remember for in-form Newport County

Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Sky Bet League Two; Newport County v Mansfield Town; 9/2/2019  KO 15.00; Rodney Parade; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Mansfield skipper Krystian Pearce wrestles with Newport's Scot Bennett
Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Sky Bet League Two; Newport County v Mansfield Town; 9/2/2019 KO 15.00; Rodney Parade; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Mansfield skipper Krystian Pearce wrestles with Newport's Scot Bennett

Newport County go into the play-off semi-finals against Mansfied Town tomorrow night on a high after a season to savour.

Having finished 11th last season, their main aim last summer 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 though another fantastic FA Cup run would prove too much of a distraction from the bread and butter of the league.

But a superb 10-game unbeaten run has seen them end the regular season in fine form and it was just enough to surge in the final play-off spot at the right time.

Michael Flynn has done a great job with limited resources since he replaced Graham Westley in March 2017, saving his hometown club from relegation in miraculous circumstances and earning the club millions from two terrific FA Cup runs.

Last season’s play-off push stalled after the cup exit to Spurs at Wembley, with the demise starting with a 5-0 defeat at One Call Stadium in the next game.

This season saw the Exiles beat Leicester and Middlesbrough in the cup before bowing out to Manchester City, but they managed to pick themselves up and a seventh-placed finish on 71 points – a record for the club since promotion in 2013 – is a superb achievement.

Front pairing Padraig Amond and Jamille Matt have 42 goals between them so they should pose plenty of problems.

Amond is top scorer on 22, but he’s due a goal having only scored one in his last 11 appearances.

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.

Their main fitness worry is whether midfielder Joss Labadie will be fit. He’s missed the last six games after sustaining a nasty gash to his ankle against Swindon on 9th April, which required 10 stitches. But hopes are high he will make it.

County are also without a back-up goalkeeper at the moment after Nick Townsend’s season was ended by a bicep injury.

A potential deciding factor will the notorious Rodney Parade pitch.

Opposition managers often complain about it as David Flitcroft did in February.

It is in far better shape than it was during the winter months but is far from perfect and will give both teams problems tomorrow night