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PRESS | Mike Flynn prepared for another difficult away game at Luton

28 September 2017

Mike Flynn says he is ready for what he expects to be a tough test when he takes the side to Luton Town on Saturday.

The Exiles head to Bedfordshire to face a Luton Town side who slipped out of the automatic promotion places and down to 5th with their 0-0 draw at Morecambe on Tuesday.

And Flynn has challenged his players to make the most of the occasion in-front of a bumper crowd at Kenilworth Road.

“If I was a player I would be relishing it,” he said.

You can watch the entire Press interview from earlier on today with Michael Flynn on ifollowExiles now by clicking here.

“It would really get me going, they are a top of the table team in terms of budget and it’s what I would love. I would look to go there, get three points, and upset the party.

“It’s a tough place to go, they have a good team, good manager but it’s definitely a place that I’ll be trying to get a win.

“There are three points up for grabs in every game and if we can beat them, will it be a little beneficial psychologically? Maybe, but I’m just taking every game as it comes at the moment.”

The game with Luton will also see Flynn come up against the other Welsh manager in the division, with Nathan Jones being the man in charge at the Hatters.

And Jones has impressed Flynn with his record at the club since taking over the reins in January 2016.

“I know Nathan from playing against him,” he added.

“Last season, he was very complimentary about us and he’s somebody who is enjoying his new career in management.

“He’s been rewarded with a new contract so he’s obviously doing a lot of good things there. He’s got a lot of pressure down there so fair play to him for taking that on, but he’s doing a really good job in my opinion.”

The trip to Kenilworth Road will be the 28th time that County will have visited the stadium.

However, the Exiles have won none of the previous 27 visits, with Flynn calling on his players to change that piece of history on Saturday.

Flynn affirmed: “No, it doesn’t affect me because until you said that I didn’t have a clue about it.

“But what I will say is that it’s my daughter’s birthday on the 28th so let’s go and do it at the 28th time of asking.

“It’s always been a lucky number for me so let’s go and have a look at that then. I think I’ve got a group of players who can go down there and win a football match and I’ve got every confidence in them to do that.”

The Exiles head into the game looking to make it three wins in a week, after victories against Grimsby Town and Crawley Town this past week.

And Flynn was encouraged by his players reaction to the Morecambe defeat in the previous game.

He continued: “Sometimes you have to let off a bit of steam because you know the reaction that you will get from the players.

“They are an honest group, never once let me down except for that Morecambe game but we’ve made sure it’s in the past now and it’s been a great reaction from them this week.”

Both Exiles goals at Crawley Town came from corners one swung in from the left by Sean Rigg, the other from the right by Robbie Willmott.  Mickey Demetriou was there to head home both.

And Flynn was pleased to see the Exiles utilise what they have been working on in training to favourable effect on Tuesday night.

Flynn added: “We scored two set plays at Crawley and if you look at it, we’ve scored a lot of set-plays throughout the season.

“That’s because we work on them, we work on how to keep them out of our goalmouth which was why I was a little disappointed with the goal that Crawley scored.

“We knew we could capitalise on their weakness, which we did, and I would say that’s good planning from us.”

If there was anything for Flynn to tell his players to work on from the two victories, he has challenged them to start a little bit quicker than against Crawley.

“You have to fight and scrap for everything in this League,” he said.

“We didn’t start the greatest the other night but it’s something to work on. We put in a very professional performance after that where we were the better team.

“We stopped them playing and if I’m honest we didn’t look like conceding towards the end except for the header which went past the post.”

The victory at the Checkatrade.com Stadium saw the Exiles regain their spot in the League 2 play-off positions and move onto 18 points.

It took until the middle of January for County to accumulate that points tally last season, something Flynn says is a sign of progression, although he wouldn’t be drawn on any potential end of season finishes.

“I’m not saying anything,” he affirmed.  

“I’ve told you before that nothing is won in September, nothing is lost in September either so I’m not saying anything.

“We know how quickly things can turn around, which is what we showed last season, and I want to get enough points on the board to make sure that we’re mathematically safe and then we can worry about other things.

“We’ll have a look where we are at the start of the next calendar year and we’ll address things then. We have to keep our key players fit and hopefully have a bit of luck on the way and we’ll see where it takes us.

“It just shows how far the boys have moved things on and how far we have moved as a club. We’ve obviously got the new pitch which helps, so it’s looking a lot more promising than last season let’s be honest.

“My main objective, however, is to make sure that Newport County are still in the Football League come the end of the season.”

Some early team news for the trip to Kenilworth Road should see Mark O’Brien and David Pipe available for selection.

The defensive duo were both substituted at Crawley with their respective injuries, although Flynn is confident that both will recover in time for Saturday.

“The boys are a lot better than the other night,” he confirmed.

“Mark had a couple of bangs on the head which made him look like he’d been in a war if I’m honest. He had a cut lip, big lump on his head, black eye but he definitely won’t be missing from concussion that’s for sure.

“Everybody else is relatively okay, Pipey is a little bit stiff today but we’ve got another 48 hours to see how that gets on.”

There was, however, less positive news about a potential return for Marlon Jackson and Reece Cole.

Jackson has been missing since pre-season with a hamstring injury, while Cole has been absent for the past three games with a knee complaint.

And Flynn is expecting to be without the pair again for the trip to Luton Town.

“Marlon is getting closer,” he said.  

“It’s been a frustrating one for him so hopefully there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I won’t put a time-frame on that one so I’ll leave it as he’ll be back when he’s back.

“Reece Cole is doubtful, he’s probably going to have to have an operation. It’s not great but we’ll address that after Saturday.

“He had a knee injury but suffered a reaction to it in the Forest Green friendly so something obviously wasn’t right there.

“Hopefully he’s not out for too long, we’ll have to speak to Brentford about it when we know more. Fair play, Brentford have been brilliant so far because they’ve looked after the medical fees so I’d like to thank them on record for that.”

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