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PRESS | Mike Flynn previews the trip to Swindon Town

23 November 2017

Mike Flynn insists the Exiles are ready to bounce-back from defeat to Barnet when they travel to the County Ground to take on Swindon Town this weekend.

Ben White’s first goal in County colours had put the Exiles in-front with 17 minutes remaining at Rodney Parade, only for the away side to score twice in the final three minutes to secure all three points.

And Flynn is expecting a reaction from his players in Wiltshire.

“Look, I don’t make excuses. It was a bad performance,” he said.  

“The way we played and the goals we conceded was bad, it was a bad night and we’ve got to address the problems.

“We’ll do that today, yesterday obviously we watched the video and now we’ll move on ready for Saturday.”

Asked on how the side actually review a game, Flynn revealed all players have been sent their own individual set of instructions.

“I’ve not made the players watch the game,” he confirmed  

“They get their individual clips after every game – win, lose or draw and they contain good points and bad points so it’s something we’ve always done and it’s a good learning tool.

“They can watch it on their own, you haven’t got to watch hours of videos and things like that because I was a player and you do switch off a lot of the time.

“It’s handy for them and the boys that want to improve and take things on board will look at it and ask you questions and the others won’t.”

The game on Tuesday night was the third game in succession that County had failed to hold onto a lead in the final 10 minutes.

And Flynn was adamant that despite that statistic occurring frequently in recent matches, his players could not be questioned on their fitness in the latter stages of games.

“The easy thing to say would be fitness,” he affirmed.  

“I can guarantee you that there won’t be many fitter teams than us in this league. The amount of work they do, running they do during the game shows that.

“If the games ended on 80 minutes, then we would be third I think. It’s frustrating because like I said, it’s the manner of how it has happened that is the frustrating thing.

“We just switched off, we had a team meeting before the game about stopping the crosses, game management, I said after the game Tuesday that we didn’t manage them well and that’s what has cost us.

“Hopefully it will give us the kick-start we need.”

The result also means it is now six games without a league win for the Exiles, a run stretching back to the 4-0 victory at Forest Green Rovers.

County have slipped to 10th in the table after that run of form, although only sit four points outside the play-offs and just six points from fourth place in the table.

But Flynn is not too concerned about the form table for the time being. 

“I’m sure a lot of people think it’s alarming,” he admitted.  

“Not making any excuses, it wasn’t good enough. I think the manner of the defeat on Tuesday was the worst thing because for a while we were only two points off third after we scored.

“We’ve got 50 points in 31 games. That would make us near enough safe with 15 to play in a full season so I don’t think it’s been that bad a start.

“It’s fine margins – let’s be honest, if we’d have got to fourth then would anybody be complaining? No, but it still would have been the same poor performance on Tuesday in all honesty.

“We’re honest, it was a poor performance. We’ve had one at Morecambe and then gone on and won a few football matches. They are all tough, just because we were playing Barnet and they are down the bottom, I didn’t think for one minute that it was a given.

“Anybody can beat anybody, you saw Crawley beat Exeter, Bury beat Shrewsbury in League 1. It happens and unfortunately it happened to us on Tuesday, but in all honesty, it was a poor performance.”

The Exiles can secure their first league victory since October 14th when they head to face Swindon, who currently occupy 5th position in League 2.

And Flynn is making no allusions as to how difficult the game is going to be for his side.

“Tough game,” he revealed.  

“They also lost in the last minute on Tuesday after leading 2-1. It’s going to be tough as they all are.

“We’ll go there with a good following and I’ll make sure that the boys go with a nice positive attitude.”

It is a stadium that Flynn had great success at as a player, including scoring in a 3-1 win for Huddersfield there on 11th October 2008.

And Flynn certainly remembered that goal very well when questioned.

He stated: “I scored an absolute worldie there as-well, volley for Huddersfield. 

“It was unbelievable, and I couldn’t believe it didn’t win goal of the season.

“I’ve been there, won there and then came home and had a lovely weekend.

“I hope it happens again Saturday except for me scoring of course because if that happens then we’re in trouble!”

Paul Hayes and Calaum Jahraldo will again be absent for the Exiles at the County Ground, while Flynn admitted he may have to make changes due to further injuries being sustained in mid-week.

“I’ve always got license to make changes,” he commented.  

“Win, lose or draw, I will make changes if I think it’s right for the team.

“There was a lot made of Ben White playing left-back but he played there against Coventry and we won. I did it for tactical reasons.

“There will be changes but more to freshen it up than having a go at them.”

Alluding more on the Willmott injury, Flynn expects to be without his summer signing for the standard amount of time afforded to trouble with concussion.

“Robbie Willmott is obviously out after his concussion,” he confirmed.  

“That’s disappointing because Robbie can play in a lot of different positions and he’s been playing really well of late.

“The procedure is 7 – 10 days with concussion so he should be back for the FA Cup provided his shoulder, his nose bleed and his head bleed are okay.

“I think they picked on Robbie because he was the smallest on the pitch. But you know what, I thought he handled it quite well to be fair.

“It was a delayed concussion and we had to take him off.”

There was, however, more positive news on David Pipe, who also came off on Tuesday through injury.

“A lump on his cheek affected his vision,” Flynn added.

“The last two games, I’ve had to make five enforced substitutions. Whether people think that’s right, I’ve had to do it.

“It’s part and parcel of the game and I’m hoping Pipey will be alright for Saturday, but he couldn’t see properly out of his one eye.”

Captain Joss Labadie made a welcome return after a month out with a hamstring injury to come off the bench in the second-half, while Mark O’Brien recovered well enough to start.

And Flynn insists it is important to monitor the pair over the next few days before making a final decision for the weekend.

“We’ve got to keep monitoring Mark,” he continued.

“The only positive on Tuesday was getting Joss back on the pitch and I think you saw when he was on the pitch, we were a different team.”

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