MICKEY Demetriou has warned Newport County AFC not to get ahead of themselves in the League Two play-off race by dismissing the threat of struggling Scunthorpe United.

The Exiles welcome the Iron to Rodney Parade (kick-off 6.30pm) hunting three points that would at least hold onto their seventh place and potentially lift them ahead of Forest Green Rovers, who host Barrow.

It is easy to look ahead at Saturday's home encounter with leaders Cheltenham as the key one in County's bid for the play-offs but Demetriou is too experienced for that.

The 31-year-old centre-back has warned his teammates to steel themselves for a tough test against the Iron, even though they have lost their last four.

Demetriou recalled a 2019 clash when they had to strike twice in the second half to get the win needed to climb into the play-off spots.

Josh Sheehan will look to guide County past Scunthorpe

Josh Sheehan will look to guide County past Scunthorpe

"It's very dangerous. Me and 'OB' [Mark O'Brien, former defender now on the coaching staff] were talking about when Oldham came down to us and were one of a few teams that weren't playing for anything," he said.

"There was no pressure on them and it goes one way or the other. They either relax throughout the game or put a lot of pressure on us.

"We are still fighting for something and I'd rather have that in the closing stages."

County were the team on the charge in 2019 when they sneaked seventh and this time they are trying to hold off the challenge of in-form Salford and Exeter.

The Ammies are a point back and the Grecians are three behind, both with better goal difference than Michael Flynn's side.

"We know how those teams are feeling at the moment. They need to try and keep the pressure on us and at the minute Salford are doing that," said Demetriou. "We need to make sure that we stay one step ahead."

County's fate is in their own hands but they have no margin for error after failing to take their chances in the goalless draw at Exeter on Saturday.

Mickey Demetriou of Newport County.

Mickey Demetriou of Newport County.

"It's still in our own hands and we have three big games now," said Demetriou. "We know that Salford have closed the gap but if we do our job and concentrate on ourselves then it doesn't matter what they do.

"We've got to make sure come 9pm on Tuesday it is still in our own hands. We will go one game at a time, starting with Scunthorpe.

"Every game is a hard game in this league, just look at how the season has panned out. No game has been easy and we have got to look after our own jobs."

Demetriou has been a key figure in County's fine season, starting every game apart from the win against Bolton due to suspension.

His experience will be vital in a tense finale, with the defender confident the Exiles will keep their cool.

"We know what we have got to do so there is no point in panicking about it. We are an experienced group of lads and a lot of us were here when we were chasing the play-off pack," he said.

"We are in it at the moment and just need to stay there."

Demetriou has been a near ever-present in the County defence but manager Flynn has a quandary on who will slot in next to him against Scunthorpe.

Matty Dolan recovered from a concussion but was an unused sub at Exeter with the boss sticking with Scott Bennett at the heart of defence and Liam Shephard to his right.

"Matty has probably been our player of the year after stepping into a new role and being unbelievable," Demetriou said about the midfielder turned defender.

"We had a good result against Crawley and it was hard for the manager to change the team. I am sure he would say himself that he would rather have those headaches than have to change because of a loss.

"Matty is a big creative player for us but 'Benno' has taken that role perfectly and is used to that – when I first came to the club it was me, him and 'OB'.

"He knows how to play that role and has done very well, and will continue to do so if asked to."