runch time. Do or die. Must-win. Every cliche in the book gets frequently used when it comes to play-off places across all EFL tables, yet seldom has Newport County been used in the same breath. Yet on Tuesday night, these and many others apply to Mike Flynn's men as they have the oportunity to put one foot in this season's League Two top seven.
Former promotion chasers Oldham Athletic are the final visitors to Rodney Parade of the regular season in a fixture postponed from March 23rd where four Latics players were called up for international duty.
Zues de la Paz and Gevaro Nepomuceno's Curacao calls as well as Daniel Iversen and Johan Branger-Engone's for Denmark Under-21s now mean that County have the opportunity to jump three places in the league without response of those around them and maintain the "in their own hands" status in which their play-off hopes stand.
Having remained unbeaten in their last eight matches, County are now the bookies' favourites to end the season in the top seven...despite still holding a negative goal difference. Putting it plainly...
...If County beat Oldham on Tuesday, they need only match Exeter City's result AND earn a point on Sunday to guarantee their play-off status.
Should they draw, they will be in the box seat to jump above Exeter, but will need to win at Morecambe AND hope that the Grecians don't beat play-off-bound Forest Green.
But the "must-not-lose" tag for this game is cemented when considering that if Paul Scholes' old side do get one over on the Exiles, County will need a win and all of Stevenage (home to Cheltenham), Carlisle United (away at Yeovil), Colchester (travelling to Lincoln) and Exeter (at Forest Green) to taste defeat to extend their season.
Joss Labadie and Jamille Matt could both return from their respective injuries for this game and would be a welcome boost for County as, while they haven't necessarily been undone by opposition brilliance lately, Flynn's side have been missing that extra bit of impotence which would've made their positive results that touch more comfortable. Nick Townsend is expected to continue to miss out so the return of these players may mean that Flynn can actually field a full bench, as opposed to Saturday against Lincoln.
As for Oldham, their play-off hopes were ended on Saturday with their 1-0 defeat at St James' Park, but they were beaten only once in their previous nine games, scoring in all but two of them in the process. Top scorer Callum Lang has 14 goals this season and while this may seem modest, it must be remembered that Oldham pushed almost all the way to the end and this is largely down to the fact that they have goals from no less than 19 players this season so Flynn and his men should be aware of the danger that Pete Wild's Latics possess. Johan Branger, Jose Baxter, Oladapo Afolayan and Zak Dearnley will all be assessed ahead of their trip to South Wales but Dan Gardner will definitely miss out.
There have been numerous big games at Rodney Parade over the last couple of years; Spurs, Leicester and Manchester City all spring to mind as definite glamour ties. But this game, with so many permutations of a level more long-term to come off the back of it, is by far the biggest. Let's hope that County's brilliant form can hold out for at least one more game...
Prediction: Newport County 2-1 Oldham Athletic
I will be live-tweeting updates from Rodney Parade on Tuesday night; give me a follow on @DanielFrazer7 to stay up-to-date as the Exiles continue their push for the play-offs!