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Interviews

PRESS | Flynn prepared for return to league action against Forest Green Rovers

12 October 2017

Mike Flynn has stated that the Exiles will be take nothing for granted when they make the relatively short trip over the Severn Bridge to face Forest Green Rovers on Saturday.

Rovers currently languish in 22nd position of the League 2 table, having picked up just one win so far this season, yielding six points from the opening 12 games.

But Flynn has warned his side against complacency, in what he expects to be another difficult away game in League 2.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” he affirmed.

“It’s a village town who get a core of about 1200 there. Mark Cooper has done very well in getting them out of the Conference and into the Football League because a lot have tried previously.

“They have good players and they can hurt you if you let them play. We won’t let them do that because there are three points up for grabs and I want to get as many points on the board as soon as we can.

“They are on a bad run, but they’ve got some very good players there and I will tell you now that we won’t be going there thinking we can just turn up and get the three points.”

Such is Flynn’s optimism in the survival hopes of the Nailsworth outfit, that he has every confidence that they will get themselves out of trouble, another warning for his players.

He added: “They are having a tough time at the moment but they have spent a lot of money and have a good squad there.

“I’m pretty certain they will get out of it if I’m honest, they have the funds to strengthen in January, and Mark is somebody who knows the league through past experiences with Swindon.

“I think they will get out of it and I’m just hoping that they don’t start that on Saturday.”

Flynn also had praise for the owner of the club, Dale Vince, who he feels has done a superb job in not just helping the club itself but the wider community as-well.   

He continued: “It’s a fairy-tale if you are a Forest Green fan. They have a millionaire owner who has put his money in, done things for the village as-well which I think is good and I’m sure that can only be a positive for the football club.”

This contest will be the first time that the two clubs have met in the league since County’s promotion in the 2012/13 season.

And Flynn says he has clear memories of playing in those two matches, seeing as they were two very contrasting results over the Christmas period.  

“I remember those games very well,” he commented.  

“We beat them 2-1 away on Boxing Day then lost 5-0 at home on New Year’s Day.

“It was quite a funny game really, we had a few chances but everything they hit went in. It wasn’t a very nice feeling especially as it was around the Christmas period.”

The meeting at The New Lawn will also be the first game for Rovers since club captain Liam Noble left the club.

Noble, who Forest Green turned down bids for in the summer, left the club on Monday as he wanted to re-locate himself closer to his family in the North of England.

And while Flynn admitted he was happy to see Rovers without their influential talisman, he still feels the player to come in will be more than an adequate replacement.

“I’m glad he’s gone because he’s a very good player,” he said.

“I don’t know the circumstances as it’s nothing to do with me but I’m sure the player they bring in will be a good footballer and we’ll have to make sure that we do our homework on that player ready for Saturday.”

To beat a Rovers side who have performed far better in the cup competitions so far this season, Flynn has challenged his side to regain their clinical edge.

He continued: “We just need to be a bit more ruthless and that’s in both boxes as-well.

“Listen, the boys have been outstanding, some of the football has been excellent, and they all feel that we can put a few goals on a team.

“The boys work tirelessly in training, there’s not many times where they have an off day and that’s both on and off the field. They are a fantastic group and push each other in training.

“I have a lot of time for their attitude which they again showed on Tuesday against a young Swansea team.

“The boys who came in haven’t played much recently but put in a great shift. They played some good football and it was just disappointing that we didn’t score more.”

And Flynn feels it won’t be too long until the Exiles do put together a few goals in one game.  

“It should have happened Saturday,” he added.

“It could have happened on Tuesday as-well. We should have had more at Leeds and there’s been other times.

“Like I said, the pleasing thing is that the boys are getting into those positions and like I’ve said before nobody misses a chance on purpose.

“A little bit more ruthlessness and maybe some luck will see us score a hatful I’m sure.”

Some early team news for the short trip over the Severn Bridge sees County having a few doubts over availability of players.

And while Flynn confirmed there are players who are definitely ruled out, he said he would give the other players every chance to prove their fitness.

He stated: “We’ll be having a look at some today and giving them as much time as possible.

“Calaum is out, I think when you pull up with a hamstring problem, even if it’s just cramp that sees you out for a week or so.

“That means Calaum is out, Marlon is out and I think Robbie Willmott may also be ruled out.

“I’ll make a decision on the others later in the week. Those players would be David Pipe, Mark O’Brien and Joss Labadie, who has a stiff groin. However, I’m pretty certain Labz will be fine.”

Labadie came in for some individual praise from his manager, after playing further forward against Yeovil in the Exiles’ last league match.

And Flynn was pleased to see his captain adapt to the different role.

He added: “I know he has those qualities and if he’s honest he would have been disappointed to not have a hat-trick.

“I thought he was outstanding, he led by example, got into some good positions and actually scored his toughest chance.

“He enjoyed it and we’ll have to see what we do on Saturday.

“We’ve got to have a think about it and we have to go with the team that we think has the best chance of beating Forest Green, because not every team is the same in this league.

“We did our homework on Yeovil, we’ve done it on Forest Green and hopefully we will get the rewards for the effort we put in.”

Flynn also admitted that some of the players who played against Swansea on Tuesday have also given him some tough decisions ahead of his team selection.

He said: “They did give me something to think about and that’s what I wanted.

“I don’t think they did that when we played Forest Green last time but I was very pleased with the performance on Tuesday night. Obviously, I wasn’t pleased with the result because of the finances for the club and we’re now out of the competition.

“But that was the down side and the positive was that there was a very good performance against a young Swansea team which cost over £1 million once assembled.”

To clarify any misunderstandings from that Swansea game, Flynn also confirmed that he did not name himself on the bench.

“I didn’t name myself on the bench on Tuesday,” he established.

“I would say that it was a mistake from our media apprentice who didn’t cross-check the sheets! It happens, but I can confirm I was definitely not on the bench on Tuesday.”

Following the Forest Green game, the Exiles have a short turn around before returning to Rodney Parade on Tuesday to face Colchester United.

And there may be something extra riding on the U’s trip to South Wales, seeing as it will be Flynn’s birthday on the day of the game.

But Flynn insisted that his attention was solely on Forest Green at this present time.

He said: “The only thing I’m thinking about Tuesday at the minute is that it is my birthday. I’m not thinking about Colchester one bit at the minute because all my focus and attention is on Forest Green.

“The players already know about it and some have already brought me in a card.

“It’s unbelievable because they’ve all brought cakes too and everything. It’s a great squad, they all look after the manager and we’ll all sing songs and have a laugh about it.”

Sandwiched between those two league games will be the FA Cup first round draw, which takes place live on BBC2 at 7pm on Monday.

And Flynn was pretty confident of his thoughts when asked whether he would prefer to be home or away.

“I’d rather be home if I’m honest,” he stated.

“But it’s odds-on now with the pitch being ready to go that we will be drawn away to a side like Barrow which is a long way away but I guess that’s football.”


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