NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn has warned fans not to underestimate the challenge posed by League Two rivals Salford City in the Leasing.com Trophy semi-final.

The Sky Sports cameras will be in Newport on Wednesday, February 19, as County host the Greater Manchester side with a place in the Wembley final at stake.

In terms of league position, a home draw against Salford is preferable to taking on fourth-placed Exeter City or League One promotion hopefuls Portsmouth.

But Graham Alexander’s men are a point ahead of the Exiles in the table, albeit having played three games more, and they have already won at Rodney Parade this season.

And Flynn was quick to point out that the newly-promoted club, who are part-owned by Manchester United legends David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Gary and Phil Neville, have strengthened significantly in the January transfer window.

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“We haven’t got to Wembley yet,” warned the Exiles boss after Tuesday’s 1-0 quarter-final win over Leicester City under-21s.

“It’s going to be a very difficult game against Salford. They’ll be thinking they’ve got a good chance as well.

“It’s going to be a very evenly matched game and hopefully we come out on top.

“I’d much rather be here than going to Salford – we’ve got enough long trips – so that’s a positive and hopefully we can make it count.

“But it will be far from easy. They’ve strengthened in the window and they’ve spent a lot of money.”

Salford made eight signings last month, including former Man United striker James Wilson from Aberdeen, United defender George Tanner on loan, Fleetwood Town defender Ash Eastham, Millwall striker Tom Elliott and Lincoln City duo Bruno Andrade and Michael O'Connor.

Only Wilson and Elliott would be eligible to face County as the others have already played in the Trophy but the investment demonstrates the ambition of Salford’s owners.

“They’ve got a huge budget and they’re paying extortionate wages,” said Flynn.

“They’ve brought in some very good footballers at this level and they’ve got a very good manager in Graham [Alexander] and his number two Chris Lucketti and they’ll be wanting to go to Wembley.

“We’re going to have to be at the top of our game for 90 minutes.”

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Flynn made six changes for the Tuesday’s win over the Foxes youngsters.

“Ash [Baker] and Ryan [Haynes] were injured, Ryan Inniss still wasn’t right and Jordan Green had a dead leg,” he explained.

“I didn’t really want to put him on but it’s a credit to Jordan that he wanted to get on and help out.

“We switch Nick [Townsend] and Tom [King] around in the cup competitions, and Tristan [Abrahams] came in for Podge (Padraig Amond) because we knew Jamma (Jamille Matt) would win a lot of balls and Tristan was a thorn in their side in the first half.

“When everybody’s fit, we’ve got a better squad than last year. I’m not saying it’s a better team, but it’s a better squad.

“We’re able to change thing around and hopefully still win.

“Leds (Dan Leadbitter) came in and I thought he had a solid comeback. He did well in the first half and linked up well with Robbie [Willmott].

“You could see he tired a little bit at the end, but that’s understandable when you’ve been out for that amount of time.

“There are no long-term injuries now, apart from OB (Mark O’Brien) who is out for about four weeks,” he added.

“Ryan Inniss should be fine for Saturday [at home to Cambridge United] and I’m hoping one of Ash and Ryan [Haynes] are as well.

“Then we’ve got Billy [Waters], Otis [Khan] and Gorms (Dale Gorman) to come back in as well so we will be a lot stronger.”

Read more: Newport County boss Michael Flynn full of praise for Leicester City youngsters