Mike Flynn says he is “disappointed” to have suffered his first defeat as Newport County caretaker manager, but has encouraged his players to put that right against Luton Town on Tuesday Night. County suffered a 3-1 defeat to Blackpool on Saturday, that has left the Exiles seven points adrift with nine games to play. Alex Samuel scored County’s only goal after Blackpool had gone two up through Bright Osayi-Samuel and Mark Cullen, with Osayi-Samuel making sure of the points deep into added time. (Read the full match report).
The Exiles welcome the play-off bound Hatters in midweek and Flynn believes if the players show the fight that they did in the second half against Blackpool, then they will have every chance of closing the gap on safety.
“It’s the first loss under me and I’m disappointed about it,” he said. “However, the boys showed again that they’re fighting and everybody else lost so no ground lost."
“It’s a massive game for us [on Tuesday] and seeing the response after going two down makes me fancy the lads.”
Luton travel to Rodney Parade having failed to win any of their last three league matches. They have also recently missed out on a place at Wembley after losing 3-2 to Oxford United in the Checkatrade trophy final. And Flynn feels this may give County the physiological edge.
“I know we can give them [Luton] a good game,” he said.
“If we play with the effort and create the chances that we have done previously then hopefully we can take the 3 points.”
“I just want the players to react and we’ll know by 10pm Tuesday whether that is the case.”
Tuesday’s match is County’s game-in-hand on their relegation rivals and Flynn understands the need to be picking up wins at this stage of the season to close the gap.
“If we draw every game and therefore stay unbeaten until the end of the season then we’re not going to stay up.”
“My focus is that there are nine games to go and I want to get as many points as possible to make sure we stay in the Football League.”
Some early team-news for Tuesday concerns Joss Labadie.
The Captain was subbed on 40 minutes to what Flynn described as a hip-flexor injury.
However, Labadie may still recover in time for mid-week.
“I’m hoping it’s not too bad,” he said. "I’m hoping it’s just a little strain in his hip-flexor. We will give him some rest and if it settles down well then he may be available for Tuesday so I’m not ruling him out yet.”
Another player who may feature is the returning Mark Randall. However, the game appears to be too early for fellow midfielder Ben Tozer.
Flynn said: “Ben has got inflammation on the knee but the scan found nothing sinister which is good.
I’ll speak to Ben and the medical staff at the end of the week to see what’s happening."
On Randall: “Mark trained a lot better yesterday but still needs to get up to speed a little bit.
“He’s another option for us on Tuesday for sure.”
Watch this full interview and the interview with Alex Samuel on Exiles Player TV: www.player.newport-county.co.uk
JOIN US AT RODNEY PARADE ON TUESDAY NIGHT
WHEN THE EXILES TAKE ON LUTON TOWN FC