NEWPORT County AFC caretaker manager Mike Flynn says the return of the “rock” Mark O’Brien is a welcome boost for his team ahead of the visit of Accrington Stanley, writes Ryan Robinson.
O’Brien missed County’s 6-1 defeat at Plymouth Argyle on Monday after showing signs of concussion when forced off at half-time of the 1-0 win over Yeovil Town on Good Friday.
But Flynn confirmed the 24-year-old defender will make a welcome return for Saturday's home clash with Accrington Stanley.
“We’ll have Mark O’Brien back,” he said.
“That’s good news because I thought we really missed him on Monday. He has been a rock at the back.
“He’s a good lad and has done really well since he came here. He’s a big bonus to have back.”
Another player available to make a return for the Exiles this weekend is captain Joss Labadie.
Labadie received a three-match suspension earlier this month after being sent off against Crawley Town following an off-the-ball altercation with Wales under-21 international Josh Yorwerth.
That suspension has now been completed, meaning the 26-year-old midfielder will also be available for selection.
Flynn said: “You need people who have got experience, energy and leadership so Joss is another massive boost for us.
“[But] just because they’ve got experience, it doesn’t mean they will play and just because they are youthful, it doesn’t mean they won’t play.
"We are going to go with the best team that we feel we can put out on Saturday. Hopefully, I’ll be smiling at the full-time whistle.”
Two players that may not feature against Accrington are David Pipe and Scot Bennett.
Both defenders were withdrawn at Plymouth through injury with Bennett appearing to sustain a hamstring problem and Pipe having an injury to his hip-flexor.
Flynn believes they may still have a fighting chance, however.
“Pipey and Benno are touch and go," he explained. "We’ll give them every opportunity to get back fit because they are also two big players for us and we need those so-called men on the pitch.
“Accrington will be a game where we need courage and those two have it.”
If the pair are ruled out, one player that won’t fill the void is Jamie Turley – who has still not fully recovered from the knee injury sustained earlier in the season.
However, someone who could force his way into the team is Aaron Williams. And Flynn says the striker strengthened his case for a starting spot with his first goal since February on Monday.
“Definitely, Aaron has a chance,” he added.
“I’ve got a few selection headaches if I’m honest. I thought a few did alright at Plymouth. A few could hold their heads up and a few couldn’t.
“The slate is clean now so we will see who is the sharpest in training today and tomorrow so that hopefully we pick the right team to get the three points.”