NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn is on the hunt for a right-back before Saturday’s trip to Mansfield Town with both Dan Leadbitter and Ashley Baker potentially out for the remainder of the season.

Baker (below) suffered a serious groin injury at Plymouth Argyle on February 1 and Flynn fears that the hamstring problem that forced Leadbitter off against Walsall on Tuesday night is a bad tear that could mean he doesn’t play again this season.

Robbie Willmott came off the bench to fill in for Leadbitter during the 0-0 draw with the Saddlers, but Flynn is now set on bringing in a free agent as soon as possible.

“We think Dan’s got a bad hamstring tear so he could be out for the rest of the season,” said the Exiles boss.

“And Ash tore the groin off the bone. I know that injury very well because I had it. I had to have an operation to release the abductor, but he decided to do it during play at Plymouth so there’s no need for an operation!

“We did think it was a dead leg. We thought he’d be out for three days and he’ll probably end up being out for three months.

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“They could both be out for the season so we will have to look at free-agents.

“I’ve got one or two in my mind. Whether or not they’ll come is a different story.”

Flynn may be tempted to make an SOS call to David Pipe, who retired at the end of last season, while former Macclesfield Town defender Miles Welch-Hayes is another option.

But he’s unlikely to recall academy graduate Dom Jefferies from his loan at Salisbury.

“Probably not,” was Flynn’s response when asked if he’d consider bringing the youngster back to Rodney Parade early.

As well as Baker and Leadbitter (below), County are also missing left-backs Ryan Haynes and George Nurse, centre-back Mark O’Brien, midfielders Josh Sheehan and Matty Dolan and second-choice goalkeeper Nick Townsend.

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“We’ve gone from a clean bill of health to having eight out now so it’s not easy,” he said.

“When you lose two right-backs and two left-backs, you’re in trouble. It’s unbelievable.

“There are usually underlying factors behind it,” added Flynn.

“But it’s nothing to do with the medical side, we’ve improved massively in that area.

“The way we plan our sessions – when we work and when we don’t work them, who works and who doesn’t, when we do gym sessions – everything has improved.

“Maybe we’re better off just doing it off the cuff!”

Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

“Let’s see who travels to Mansfield on Saturday,” said the manager.

“Townsend has got a slight calf strain, nothing too bad. Mark O’Brien is not close enough yet, but hopefully [at least one of] Ryan Haynes and George Nurse will be fit.”

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