Flynn press Mansfield Town

Mike Flynn has challenged his side to get back to winning ways at Rodney Parade this weekend when Mansfield Town make the trip to South Wales.

The Stags, who have won six of the eight previous League 2 meetings against County, currently occupy 12th position in the table after collecting 20 points so far this season.

And Flynn is expecting another tough encounter on Saturday.

He said: “It’s going to be an interesting game Saturday and I think it’ll come down to who takes their chances more.

“They’ve got some very good players but so do we so let’s get back to winning ways.

“Statistics say that six times out of ten the team who scores first wins a football match, I think that’s about right.

“We have come back from losing positions before but I just thought that the other night it was written in lights almost that whoever scored first would go on to win the game.

“Unfortunately, Colchester got it and we got ours a little bit too late.”

The pre-season title contenders are looking to really kick-start their season after only collecting seven points from the last 18 available.

But Flynn feels the Exiles will have to be at their best to overcome their opponents on the weekend.

 “I think they signed a whole new squad near-enough,” he commented.

“They’ve got an experienced manger in Steve Evans so it’s going to be a tough game. They are a team of men so it’s going to be difficult.

“But we’ve known that since the start of the season, every game is going to be difficult and like I said, if we weren’t at it on Tuesday then we weren’t going to get anything and I think Colchester showed how may fine margins there are in the league because anybody can beat anybody.” 

Talking specifically about the man in the opposite dugout, Steve Evans, Flynn commended him for his record as a manager.

“I won’t be taking any notice of what Steve Evans does,” he continued.

“He’s experienced, knows what he’s good at so to speak on the side-line and he winds up opposition managers, coaches, players and fair play if that works for him then good luck.

“But I think he’ll get as good as he gives against our bench and our players, especially when Wayne Hatswell has been there and seen it all as-well.

“I think it’ll take a miracle to get Lennie to react so Lennie is fine.

“I get wound up in games but I don’t think I’ve ever reacted stupidly to an opposition manager. It’s more likely it’ll be one of our players that I have a go at.

“I’m more concerned about his reputation of what he does with his football teams because he gets results.

“He builds good teams so what he does on the pitch is neither here or there and I’m sure our fans behind the dugout will definitely drown him out anyway.”

The game comes just five days after the Exiles lost their long unbeaten home record, with Colchester’s win stopping the run at 213 days.

And despite defeat, Flynn could take some positives from the game.

He added: “I thought we played some really good football, created some good chances, missed chances which I usually fancy us to score and we had a wobbly ten or fifteen minutes where they scored two and probably could have had one or two more because they missed two headers in that time.

“That’s the things I’m going to concentrate more on because everybody misses chances and they don’t do it on purpose.

“Yes, I’ve said it before but we need to be more ruthless and I’ll be looking to sure up that ten or fifteen minutes this weekend.”

One player to receive individual praise following the Colchester game was David Pipe.

And Flynn feels it is important to have his leadership qualities on the pitch as much as possible.

He said: “If Mark O’Brien doesn’t play then of course David Pipe is next in-line for the captaincy.

“I thought David played very well the other night even though he did frustrate me at times on the side.

“We had a chat afterwards but I thought he played very well, full blooded and it’s just about him taking on board that advice because if he did that then he would have played even better.

“I’m really pleased for him because a lot of people wrote him off coming back here but he’s brought determination, professional attitude and I’m very pleased that he’s showing that on the pitch.”

Alongside the other results in the league on Tuesday, County remained within the play-off positions in 6th place.

And Flynn says he is happy with the start that his squad has made.

“If anything, I think we’re punching above our weight,” he affirmed.  

“The players have been fantastic and I honestly enjoy coming in to work. Even as a player, you do get the odd day where you think that you could do without this.

“But I haven’t had that here. I’m sure I will do at some point in my managerial career but they are just a joy to work with every day.

“Walking in today was the same vibe, we don’t get carried away when we win and we don’t get carried away when we lose so we’re trying to keep it at a level playing field so to speak.”

He continued: “You can take nothing for granted in this league.

“You go and look at Notts County who went to Crewe. Notts County have been flying, Crewe have been struggling and Crewe go and win 2-0.

“I’ve got to be honest and say that the only team that I think are odds onto win at the moment is Luton. They go away to Exeter 4-1, they beat Stevenage 7-1 on the weekend and Yeovil 8-2 as-well.”

Some early team-news for the game this weekend sees captain Joss Labadie miss out with the hamstring injury sustained on Tuesday.

And Flynn couldn’t confirm the severity of the injury.

“No, we’ve got a scan tomorrow to find out more,” he commented.

“I’ve told him to stay off today because there’s no point in him travelling in as he needs to be resting up as much as he can before we hopefully get the scan results tomorrow.

“I’ll always try and be straight with you and when you go off after five minutes with a hamstring injury then it’s not a good sign.”

Talking about the void that his captain will leave, Flynn added:

“He’s a massive player for us. Not just in the games, every day in training he’s been brilliant and I can’t speak highly enough of him since I took over.

“He’s been first-class and it’s unfortunate that we’re going to miss him for a game or two.

“We haven’t got a like-for-like Joss Labadie so to speak but I don’t think many people thought he would do well in that forward role and he has done.

“Ben Tozer has come in and kind of taken the defensive role that Joss left and now we’ve got to find the forward one.

“That’s all part of what I get paid for, to make these decisions and hopefully I get it right on Saturday.”

That means Flynn will definitely have to make changes to his squad for the first time in four league games.

One player that may also force a recall is striker Shawn McCoulsky. The 20-year old scored for the third successive game in all competitions on Tuesday, although Flynn hinted that he may not start from the off this weekend.

“That’s all I can ask of him,” he said.

“When he goes on the pitch I ask him to score goals and he’s doing that.

“Do I think he’s ready to start at the moment? I’m not quite sure. I think we saw against Swansea that there are parts of his game that he needs to improve.

“But I can’t argue that he has six goals at the moment. I’m absolutely delighted for him because he’s a great kid and he is knocking on the door.”

Fellow striker Paul Hayes will also not be ready to play a part against Mansfield Town.

Flynn confirmed: “No, not at the moment.

“I wouldn’t be unfair to him and let’s just say that we’ll have a mini pre-season with him first.

“I’m not sure when he will be ready because I’m not going to put a timescale on it. When I feel he’s ready he will play, we train right, have the right data on the players and we’ll have to wait and see.”

The only other injury concerns revolve around Robbie Willmott and Marlon Jackson.

And Flynn confirmed that it is unlikely that either player will be ready for the weekend.

On Willmott: “It’s nothing serious, the scan has come back positive.

“It’s another one where I don’t want to put him in too soon then have him missing for more weeks.

“If it takes an extra week then so be it because one week is better than six.”

On Jackson: “Marlon is training.

“He’s been out a long time and it’s been frustrating for him.

“He’s worked really hard, he’s had a bad injury and he’s eager to get back on that pitch. He’s had to be patient and he’ll have to work very hard to get back up to speed.”

Monday’s FA Cup draw saw County drawn at home against League 1 Walsall.

And Flynn could not hide his relief at being chosen to play at Rodney Parade.

He said: “I was delighted because I thought it was odds-on that we’d be in the North of England on Sunday.

“To get the home draw against a League 1 team, I’m sure it’ll be a good crowd and it’ll show how far we’ve come again.”

Talking about whether the magic of the FA Cup is still there, Flynn says it is vital for the club to go on a good cup run.

“The FA Cup means everything to me,” he stated.

“It means that if we can get a good couple of results and get a good draw then it’ll almost guarantee the club’s financial future. That’s how much it means to me.

“I always enjoyed playing it in and it’s obviously something we want to go far in.

“I still feel that the best is yet to come in the FA Cup for me and we want to get that cup run for the fans because they deserve it more than anybody.”