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Interviews

PRESS | Mike Flynn looks ahead to two tough tests at Coventry and Leeds

18 August 2017

Manager Mike Flynn says he is excited by the prospect of two challenging away fixtures, as he prepares to take the side to Coventry City and Leeds United.

The Exiles first travel to the Ricoh Arena this Saturday, to take on Coventry City, knowing that the home-side are the only team left in League 2 with a 100% record.                                      

But Flynn doesn’t expect his players to become daunted by the test, and wants the team to go there without fear. 

He said: “Coventry are a good team, we’ve done our homework on them, we’re very respectable to them but we won’t fear them.

“They’ve got a lot of good players, won both their games and they are one of the bigger teams in the division.

“Mark Robins is a good manager but hopefully we can take the game to them and put them on the back foot.

“I know the group of lads I’ve got here will rise to the occasion.”

The game at the Ricoh will be swiftly followed by a trip to Elland Road on Tuesday, where County will face Leeds United in the second round of the Carabao Cup.

And Flynn is looking forward to another tough encounter for his players.

“It’s going to be brilliant,” he said.

“It’s a great stadium, great history and the gesture that they have made to the club with the even share of the gate-money is brilliant, it’s a touch of class and it doesn’t go unnoticed at the club and especially me so I’d like to thank Leeds on record for that.

“The boys earnt the right at the end of last season to play on these stages and they have to go and make sure they deserve to be there this season.”

As a player, Flynn played at both stadiums, and is hoping for the players to replicate his memories.

“I’ve played at Coventry as a player, it’s a lovely stadium to play football.

“I was fortunate enough to play at Elland Road with Bradford live on Sky in front of 37,000. I scored a 30-yarder straight into the top corner in a big derby game so it was a positive experience for me.”

Some team news for the games sees Scot Bennett and Ben Tozer edging ever closer to a return to the first-team fold, although Marlon Jackson is still recovering from the hamstring problem sustained in pre-season.

On absentees, Flynn commented: “Hopefully, we’ll have Scot Bennett back.

“He’s overcome his ankle injury and he’s trained fully today so we’ll have to see how it reacts now and take it from there.

“Ben Tozer has upped his training and is looking quite good, whether he’s ready for Saturday is debatable, but he’s very close now.

“Marlon Jackson is a lot closer but he’s not ready for this weekend.

“He’s had no reactions; he’s done some running this week which is good so hopefully it won’t be too long.”

Flynn also has new loan recruit Reece Cole to call upon. Last weekend’s game at Crewe came too early for Cole, who was an unused substitute, but the 19-year-old is in contention for a place at the Ricoh Arena.

Flynn commented: “The boys who have played have deserved their place. A couple were really unlucky to miss out after their performances at Southend.

“Reece is the same as any other player, he’ll have to bide his time and earn his spot and if he does that then it’s his shirt to lose.”

Earlier this week, Aaron Williams completed a loan move to Brackley Town until January.

Flynn thanked Williams for his efforts last season, and is hoping to see him back in contention for the first-team when he returns.

He said: “I think he needed to go and play regular football.

“He’s a great lad, works hard, good attitude and I’m sure he will do well at Brackley.

“I’ll never close the door on anybody so hopefully in January he comes back with a lot of confidence.”

After the next two fixtures, the Exiles will then return home to Rodney Parade to play Chesterfield.

And Flynn says he is excited to be closing in on playing at home.

He said: “Coventry and Leeds are the big focus at the moment but it will be the first time the fans can watch us at home and I’m hoping for a big crowd.

“The pitch will be in pristine condition and I’m really looking forward to it.

“The WRU are a professional outfit so there will be a big improvement and hopefully the players go and enjoy it and play football on there.”

Reflecting on the Exiles start to the season so far, Flynn has been encouraged by the team’s performances away from home, but expects them to build and improve for each game.

“I think we’ve been unlucky not to win both previous fixtures,” he continued.

“At Stevenage, I thought we did very well. We had 19 shots and at Crewe we had 23 shots.

“Away from home that is a very good statistic, we are creating chances and we probably should have taken more at Crewe if I’m honest.

“Crewe was tough because we had 3 or 4 players in that game carrying knocks.

“I want to make it clear that that’s not due to fitness, so they did really well to play 90 minutes with those injuries.

“There’s a lot of pleasing signs from the team, the statistics are really encouraging but I would still say that I would prefer a win and a defeat because we’d have an extra point.

“I’m not into all these unbeaten records because I just want to win football matches and hopefully that starts against Coventry.”


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