Press - Accrington

Mike Flynn says the Exiles are ready for what he anticipates being one of the toughest away tests of the season when he takes the side to Accrington Stanley on Saturday.

Accrington currently sit in 2nd position in the League 2 table and are one of the form sides in the division looking at their recent results.

But Flynn is not shocked by Stanley’s good start to the season, as the side have come agonisingly close to promotion in each of the last two campaigns.

“I’m not surprised by that at all if I’m honest,” he affirmed.  

“John Coleman has done a brilliant job there – puts together competitive teams on lesser budgets than others.

“I know it’s got a little bit better recently, but he gets a group of talented and hungry players playing for the club. They’ve got a good team ethic and a real good togetherness. He’s done a very good job.”

Coleman has had two separate spells in charge at the Wham Stadium, becoming the longest serving manager in the club’s history during his first stint at the Lancashire outfit.

He managed the side from 1999-2012 before returning in 2015 and over the two spells has managed over 750 competitive games, winning just over 300.

And Flynn believes it would be a huge compliment if he were to be spoken about in the same breath as Coleman during his career.

“I think it would be nice to be talked about like that,” he stated.

“Like I said, John has done it for a long period now. They play good football, and everybody always puts in a good shift. They move well, pass and move so that’s what is going to make it difficult.  

“I know they will be disappointed with the result the other night, but I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing because I know he’ll get a reaction out of them.”

Accrington last played on Tuesday in an Emirates FA Cup first-round replay against National League side Guiseley.

And Flynn says he was pleased to see the side taken all the way to penalties during midweek, a shootout which they actually lost.

“I was very happy if I’m honest,” he said.  

“But like I said, I know John Coleman’s teams and I know he won’t be a happy man. Sometimes it can work against you because no doubt about it, he will get a reaction out of his players.

“We’ll be ready for that reaction so let’s just hope that we turn it on on the day.”

County have made trips to Lancashire to face Accrington on six previous occasions and are currently unbeaten following two wins and four draws.

And Flynn is determined to keep that run going this time around.

“Good win last season when we were struggling,” he added.

“It was a very good performance and I hope we get the same result.

“But it’s going to be really tough. They’re flying, I’ve spoken to a couple of managers and they have said that Accrington are the best side they’ve faced.

“Some of them haven’t played Luton at Luton but Accrington were the best team they played so it goes to show how difficult it’s going to be.

“But, we want to be in amongst it at the end of the season, so we have to pit ourselves well against the big teams. We went to Coventry and won so we won’t be fearing them, but we’ll definitely respect them.”

The match in Lancashire will give the Exiles the chance to respond to conceding a late goal against Port Vale last Friday at Rodney Parade.

And Flynn reiterated his beliefs that he was disappointed not to secure all three points during the game following a tireless display from his players.

He commented: “I spoke to Paul Cook early Saturday morning, the Wigan manager who was there watching and I thought he hit the nail on the head.

“Port Vale were a League 1 team last year, they’ve got some good, solid professionals and they came and made it a very tough game.

“They won’t be down the bottom for long and you can see that. Once they maybe got a bit more organised then they became very tough to beat and they’ve got some good players there.

“When I look back on it then I was disappointed with the goal we conceded because it wasn’t really like us to give something as sloppy away like that so that’s why I was fuming.

“I was more gutted for the players because the work ethic they put in was tremendous and we looked at the GPS results afterwards and they ran further, more sprints during the game so it was a tough one to take after the game.”

The draw against the Valiants means it’s now one win in six matches for the Exiles across all competitions.

But Flynn is not concerned about that statistic just yet, insisting his side have been unlucky with some of the recent results.

“I’m not worried,” he continued.  

“Obviously, I want more points, but the performances have been there.

“Even the Colchester game, we probably should have got a draw out of it despite the ten-minute spell where they could have scored four.

“Other than that, we should have been in the lead and once we’re in the lead then we very rarely lose.

“Against Mansfield we deserved to win, we all know what happened at Notts County and obviously, Friday night it was an atrocious error that gave Port Vale a point.

“Apart from that, the performances have been solid and I’m not too concerned. The players have been superb since I’ve been in charge, the ones who were here last year and the new ones that came in.

“We need a win. Is it a crisis if we don’t win? No, but if we want to keep progressing and staying in the mix then we need to pick up points.

“So, it’s a challenge now. We’ve got three games in a week again and we want to get as many points as we can.”

Some early team news for the trip to Accrington sees Matty Dolan suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season against Port Vale.

Paul Hayes and Calaum Jahraldo will again both miss out, while Flynn was able to provide an update on both his captain and vice-captain ahead of the game.

“Mark O’Brien is okay, and Joss Labadie is 50/50,” he confirmed.  

“I thought Joss was okay on Tuesday but he’s still a little bit stiff today so I’m not sure.

“There are still a few decisions. Matty Dolan is suspended so I could do with Joss being fit if I’m honest.”