NEWPORT County AFC haven't had a settled strike force all season but manager Michael Flynn hopes a pairing will gel for the League Two run-in.

The Exiles boss made an enforced change to his front line against Crawley on Tuesday when Ryan Taylor was absent through injury after previously playing with a niggle.

The targetman is a doubt for Saturday's vital trip to rivals Exeter, who will leapfrog them with victory, and that leaves Flynn to ponder what type of pairing to go for.

Against Crawley he paired young forward Lewis Collins with veteran poacher, and fellow grafter, Padraig Amond.

Neither got on the scoresheet but they did get through a mountain of work to set the tone in the 2-0 success.

Nicky Maynard came off the bench and the 34-year-old, known for his finishing, set up Aaron Lewis for the clincher. Bournemouth prospect Jake Scrimshaw and January recruit Dom Telford were unused subs.

The goals haven't flowed for any Exiles striker this season with Amond leading the League Two tally with six followed by Scrimshaw on three, Maynard and Taylor on two and Telford's sole strike was the late equaliser against Exeter at Rodney Parade.

Previous loanees Saikou Janneh and Jamie Proctor struck just once each while Tristan Abrahams scored four before his January exit to Leyton Orient.

Nicky Maynard slotted a key goal for County against Bolton

Nicky Maynard slotted a key goal for County against Bolton

The strikers have a combined tally of 20, a tally eclipsed by Cambridge striker Paul Mullin's 29 on his way to the League Two golden boot, but Flynn feels he does have options for the run-in.

"Ryan gives us something different that we haven't got anywhere else with his physical attributes," said the boss.

"Lewis Collins gives us pace, Jake Scrimshaw and Padraig Amond give us hard work, Dom Telford and Nicky Maynard play on the shoulder and can pounce on a mistake.

"Nicky did very well when he came on and I just want two of them to gel and hit the ground running for the next four or seven games."

Amond and Collins played well on Tuesday but also missed glorious chances to open the scoring in the first half.

They weren't the only offenders with the Exiles once again struggling to find their killer touch, an issue that denied Flynn the chance to protect legs for the trip to Devon.

"This is the importance of missing chances," he said. "If we'd gone 3-0 up and scored an early goal in the second half to go 4-0 up then I could have rotated and rested players. You are trying to not drain every last drop out of them.

"That's the importance of being clinical and ruthless - we haven't done it enough at times this season.

Newport County manager Michael Flynn.

Newport County manager Michael Flynn.

"If we'd lost on Tuesday after we'd played like that, missing chances and been punished for a silly error, then I wouldn't have known what to say.

"It would have been repetitive after recent weeks and would have been a shame, because we played some unbelievable stuff.

"On Saturday we played really well against Cambridge but I would rather have been terrible and nicked a goal at the end.

"It's the business end of the season and we saw that when we don't make any mistakes and are fully focused, we win the game.

"It's not very often that we haven't won a game after not making a mistake."

County still control their play-off destiny but a strong season could have been a remarkable one for the team that were setting the pace in January.

"We have an unbelievable amount of points but the scary thing is that we sat down and went through how many we have thrown away through individual errors," said Flynn.

"It was 27 and that was being conservative. That's frustrating because we should be higher up."