NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn has defended his decision to have next week’s trip to Cheltenham Town postponed due to the Exiles’ international call-ups.

County moved up to third in the League Two table on Saturday thanks to substitute George Nurse’s stunning stoppage-time winner against Carlisle United.

But they could drop down to sixth next weekend as they enjoy a rest while their promotion rivals are in action.

The clash with fifth-placed Cheltenham will be rearranged as Flynn’s men would have been without Danny McNamara, who will be away with the Republic of Ireland under-21s, Keanu Marsh-Brown, who’ll be representing Guyana, and Lewis Collins, who'll be with Wales under-19s.

The decision has not been welcomed by Cheltenham and has attracted criticism from some fans of both clubs but the Exiles boss hopes it will benefit his side in the long run.

“We applied to have it postponed,” he explained “We’ve got three missing [on international duty]. “People might say that it’s only one regular but I’m missing my right-back and I would have had to play Robbie [Willmott] there because Dan Leadbitter has just had an operation.

“It also gives us a chance to get Ryan Inniss up to speed. And Mickey Demetriou might be fit when we play them next, and Joss Labadie as well. I could have four very big players back.

“So, there are a load of things that come into it but it’s for footballing reasons. There’s no hidden agenda. Hopefully it pays off.”

Labadie missed the win over Carlisle due to injury and won’t feature in tomorrow’s home clash with Exeter City in the Trophy but he should be fit for the next league match against Scunthorpe United at Rodney Parade on October 19.

“He’s feeling an impingement in his ankle bone – a pinching sensation – so we’ve just got to be careful that he doesn’t get any worse,” said Flynn of the skipper.

“He trained on Friday but right at the end he opened it out and he wasn’t able to finish. There was no point in risking him.”

Right-back Leadbitter will be sidelined for longer, however.

“He’s had a clean out of the knee,” said the manager. “He had a knee injury before he signed for us but it was the other knee. This one was unfortunate. There was a little bit of bone floating around so he’s just had that cleared out.

“It was a routine operation but it’s looking like he’ll be out for around eight weeks.”

Centre-back Inniss will return to action tomorrow after completing a five-match ban for biting, but Flynn is already looking beyond the Trophy tie.

“It is still early days in the league, we are only 12 games in and we have to keep doing what we’re doing,” he said.

“It’s nice to have the three points, we go into Tuesday now and then we can really concentrate on what we want to do on the training pitch.”