Mike Flynn says he is looking forward to taking charge of his first competitive game as permanent manager of Newport County AFC, as he prepares to take his team to Stevenage FC for the opening-weekend of the new League Two campaign.
Flynn oversaw the final 12 games of last season as the club prolonged their stay in League 2, and he is excited about starting the season in charge.
“I’m looking forward to Saturday and I’m really excited about it to be honest,” he said.
“I’m confident in the group of players, confident in myself, Wayne and Lennie. We’ve got a really good team together here.
“We need continuity on and off the field. I think I’ve got that now with the players that I have kept and brought in, I feel like I have improved the quality at this football club.
“Everything is coming together at this football club – new kit man, new chef, new players and that’s an ideal world for me.”
Flynn won’t be drawn on a specific target for the new season, but wants his players focused on keeping the club away from where they have been for the last two seasons.
“I don’t want us to be anywhere near to where we were last season,” he added.
“Let’s be honest and say that it was touch and go last season, it could have gone either way. Even though the boys put in a tremendous effort winning 7 from 12, a draw in any of those games would have seen us relegated so we have to be realistic.
“Hard-work in this division gets you rewards so we have to do that throughout the season.
“If we keep on going about things the way we have been in pre-season, I am very confident that we will surprise a lot of teams this season and improve a lot on the last two seasons.”
One thing Flynn has specifically targeted, however, is goals.
He said: “Seven goals for your top goal scorer is not good enough - I felt we lacked pace up-front last season so I’ve addressed that.
“It’s down to these players now to score the goals, there’s healthy competition throughout the team and they’ve got to produce the goods.
“Frank Nouble has been brilliant so far, he’s come with a good reputation. He’s had a good career and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do.
“He’s got the right attitude around the players so I’m sure he can help a few of the youngsters as-well so that’s another positive for this club.”
The team head into the new season on the back of a tough seven-game pre-season schedule.
That allowed the new signings to settle in, get some game-time and get used to the new style of play.
And Flynn says the schedule has prepared his team perfectly for the opening weekend.
“We are ready for the new season,” he added.
“I was really pleased at Northampton, I got what I wanted out of the game and more. The result didn’t matter much to me, it was about getting prepared for the new season and not suffering any injuries.”
But despite Flynn being satisfied with the playing squad, more incomings will be seen if the players are the right fit for the club.
Flynn said: “I’m really happy with my squad at this moment in time but of course we can bring in some loan signings if Premier League clubs are looking to loan out a few more players come the end of the window.
“It’s not something I want to rush into but there is potential for another one or two just to top the squad up.”
He has had two new additions to the playing squad this week after Shawn McCoulsky and Ben White joined the club on loan deals from Bristol City and Brighton & Hove Albion respectively.
And Flynn says both are in contention to start at the Lamex Stadium this weekend.
He commented: “Shawn and Ben go straight into contention to the side.
“They’ve been here a couple of days and I’ve been really happy with their attitude.
“They are players that will improve our squad over the course of the season and they won’t need many chances to cement a place in the team because they have bright futures ahead of them.”
The new additions mean County head into the game with a full squad, expect for Ben Tozer and Marlon Jackson who have been ruled through injury.
Flynn continued: “Marlon and Ben have really improved this week so they are not a million miles away.
“Ben’s going to be like a new signing for us and as soon as they are back it’s a really healthy squad.”
The game at the Lamex will also see County re-unite with former player Alex Samuel.
But Flynn doesn’t want that to become a talking point for the game, and expects his players to treat him like any other player in the division.
“Alex is like any other player in the League now,” he said.
“I’m sure he is in for a tough afternoon against our defenders. They know his strengths and weaknesses so hopefully that will work in our favour.”