Mike Flynn says he is excited by the prospect of returning home, as he prepares to welcome Chesterfield to Rodney Parade for the ‘Homecoming Game’ tomorrow.
Flynn and the team have had 12 consecutive games on the road to start the season, including friendlies, and he is looking forward to finally playing in-front of the home crowd.
“It’s a big day in regards that it’s the first home game of the season,” he said.
“It’s going to be a good crowd, nice to be back in-front of the fans but on the other hand it’s just another football match that we want to win.”
The game at Rodney Parade will be the first time that the squad play on the new and improved DESSO pitch.
The squad have been unable to train on the pitch in preparation for the game, as the surface has needed to be undisturbed whilst settling in.
But Flynn doesn’t think that it will affect his players.
“There’s no excuses because Chesterfield haven’t been on it either,” he added.
“At the end of the day it’s a football pitch, albeit a very nice one, but we’ve played on two really nice pitches recently, at Coventry and Leeds so the boys will be prepared for it.”
Flynn continued: “It looks fantastic, I’m hoping it’s gets watered well and we can play some exciting football on there and keep the fans on the edge of their seats.
“We hope it allows us to keep playing how we have been already this season. We’ve been playing a free-flow brand of football, a lot of combinations with the players and the ball so we want to play football.
“I don’t want to be lumping it from one end of the field to the other, especially at home. I want to play a good style of football in-front of our fans most of all because they deserve to see that at Rodney Parade.
“It might take us one or two games to fully get used to the pitch but if the boys continue the performances that they have been putting in, take some more of the chances that we create then it’s going to be a good day.”
The Exiles welcome the Spireites to Rodney Parade in what will be the first County game at the stadium since the infamous ‘Great Escape’ on May 6th.
And Flynn wants the team to build on that performance from last season, and use it as momentum to start the home campaign off with the right result.
“We all know what an occasion it was last season and thankfully it ended the right way,” he commented.
“We want those fans to be coming week in, week out and it’s down to me to put results on the board, play some attractive football to keep them interested.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence in the squad, I’ve got a lot of belief in the players here, everybody has been pulling their weight at the football club and I’m excited to play in-front of the home fans.”
Chesterfield come to South Wales on the back of securing their first league win at the weekend, beating Port Vale 2-0.
And Flynn is prepared for the tough test that the Spireites will bring.
“It’ll be a very tough game,” he said.
“They went down last season, and have got some very good players. Players that I have played with, players that I have played against and they’re a good team.
“It’ll be a tough ask for them but I expect them to be there or there abouts at the end of the season so if we can go and get a result against them then it gives us a bit of a marker to how well we’ve really done in the first five games.”
Reflecting on their exploits on the road, Flynn has been encouraged by the high level of performance from the squad.
“All it means is that we’ve played more away games than most, it’s as simple as that really,” he added.
“It wasn’t ideal but the players have been fantastic and took it in their stride.
“We managed to beat Southend and Coventry away, draws against Crewe and Stevenage which were two games we should have won.
“We put in a good showing at Leeds, okay we lost 5-1 but we should have scored a lot more than we did and a couple of the goals we gave away were sloppy.”
Such was the level of the Exiles performance at Elland Road, that Whites manager Thomas Christiansen was full of praise for their performance.
Flynn admitted that it was nice praise to receive, and shows how far the squad have come already this season.
“It’s always very nice when someone like the Leeds manager gives you compliments like that,” he continued.
“He’s played at the top level; he’s managing at a very good football club so it’s nice.
“Leeds play some really good football, there are some fantastic players there so it’s nice to have the plaudits.
“He was a very humble man, somebody who I admire after meeting him properly. He was very polite and welcoming after the game so it was really nice to read.
“But like I’ve said, our bread and butter is the league and we have to match that Leeds performance this weekend, albeit taking a few more chances and cutting out some errors.”
For the game, Exiles fans could see new summer signing Padraig Amond come straight into the side.
Amond joined the club on Wednesday for an undisclosed fee, and is available for selection against Chesterfield.
Flynn said: “He’s looked after himself so he’s fit and ready to play.
“He’s played a few games at Hartlepool already and looked in great shape in training today. It’s a big decision for tomorrow but it’s great to have him on board and I think he’ll score us a lot of goals.
“I’ve been interested in him all summer. He’s somebody that knows how to put the ball in the net, at 29 he is the right age and he brings experience to the front line.
“He’s a good character, a winner and I’m really excited for him to be here.”
He continued: “I’ve had fantastic support from the board, especially Gavin Foxall and Alex Tunbridge. The agent helped, Hartlepool also helped get the deal over the line so it’s exciting.
“It’s not very often that we pay a transfer fee for somebody but it hasn’t crippled the club. I’m happy with it, it isn’t a record transfer fee so it fitted into the budget.”
In terms of absentees, only Marlon Jackson has been confirmed as unavailable for the game.
That means Tom Owen-Evans is back from his injury, with Flynn saying:
“Everybody is fine, it’s only Marlon who is missing.
“Tom has had an ankle injury. He was fit for selection on Tuesday but I didn’t think he was fully 100%.
“It’s competition for places, he has to work his way back into the starting team now. It’s something I want at the football club.”
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