Mike Flynn has revealed that he has challenged his players to get him a long-awaited home victory against Swindon Town on Saturday so that he can dedicate it to the fans for their faultless support this season.
The Exiles could also complete the double over the Robins this season when they travel to South Wales on Saturday, following Ben Tozer’s late winner at the County Ground on 25th November.
But Flynn is not too worried about that statistic for the time being, preferring to concentrate on securing a home victory that he could then devote to the loyal support at Rodney Parade.
“I just want three points,” he affirmed.
“That’s the main thing really because I want to give the fans a home win. They have been fantastic all season and they deserve it.
“I’ll be honest, when I saw that it was over 4,000 attendance last weekend, it did surprise me. They showed up and I think they have been fantastic.
“It’s something when we look back come May 5th that they should all be proud of. Especially the ones who have followed us away as-well.”
The Robins head to Rodney Parade just one-point outside of the League 2 play-offs, although they have played a game more than most of the teams currently occupying places above them in the table.
County are 11 points adrift of the top-seven places with a game in hand and Flynn believes it is a disappointment to play host to a team that are closer to the play-offs than his own side.
He added: “I’m massively frustrated because I believe in these players and I do see it as a missed opportunity.
“So yes, I’m massively disappointed because we’re playing against a team in a better position than ourselves for going towards the play-offs.
“They’ve got a very good manager, very good club in terms of traditions and they’ve got lots of very good players.
“It’s going to be tough – they will want to come here and capitalise on our poor home form of late. We’ve got to make sure that we put the wrongs right.”
Sitting in the opposition dugout on Saturday afternoon will be vastly experienced manager Phil Brown.
The 58-year old has adapted well to his new surroundings after taking charge of the Wiltshire outfit last month, with the Robins losing just one match since his appointment on 12th March.
Flynn masterminded a victory against Brown earlier on this season in the Carabao Cup when his counterpart was in the hot seat at Southend United, although he is expecting another tough test this time out.
And Flynn was also full-of-praise for the career that Brown has had to date.
He commented: “Phil is at a big football club. He’s ambitious, wants to get back on the ladder so to speak and he wants to get Swindon back into the play-offs.
“He wants to get his name back up there and for what it’s worth, I thought he did a very good job at Southend taking them from where they were.
“Look, he’s a very good manager. Managed in the Premier League as-well and he was as good as gold after we played Southend in August.
“He’s had a good career because he’s a good manager. We all have sticky periods and good periods – but his record is there for all to see.”
Flynn also went on to add that he will looking to learn from a manager that has managed over 500 games in the Football League and the top flight, winning two promotions in the process, alongside several trips to Wembley in various competitions.
He added: “I can learn off anybody. Sometimes you learn off the people you least expect to but you really can learn off everybody.
“You can see what Phil has done right and you can also look at what he has done wrong. A lot of my learning curves often come from watching what people did wrong and trying not to copy the same mistakes.
“So far it’s held me in good stead and hopefully I can keep improving myself.”
The game against Brown’s side will also give the Exiles an opportunity to respond to the defeat against Stevenage at Rodney Parade last time out.
And Flynn has challenged his players to prove that they are better than the performance shown last weekend.
He said: “Can’t do anything about it. First-half definitely wasn’t good enough, we huffed and puffed second-half, but it wasn’t up to a level that we expect from each other.
“The players said that to themselves after the game and it’s something we’ve got to move on from. We can’t change it.
“We are [better than what we showed against Stevenage.] We’re better than what we’ve shown over a few games this season but look, it’s part and parcel of League 2.
“We’re low on numbers and we’re going through a bit of a bad run of form.”
Victories from all six remaining matches could still see the Exiles extend their season past May 5th by ascending into the play-off positions.
And while Flynn still remains confident on the prospects of a play-off berth come the end of the season, he also confirmed that he still expects the players to finish the season on a high should it ever become mathematically impossible to get in those play-offs.
He affirmed: “I can’t fault their efforts. They have given me everything this season and it’ll be what it will be. We want to finish on a high and I think we can do that.
“As long as the players believe that and put in those performances then hopefully we will put a few wins on the board.
“Like I said, they’ve been brilliant all season apart from one or two games. If that’s all we’re concerned and worried about then it’s not been that bad of a season.
“You look at it, if we would have beaten Crewe and Stevenage then we would have been five points behind the play-offs with a game in hand. Don’t underestimate how small a margin it is.
He added: “If the players can’t get motivated for the football match then they need to seriously consider a new line of work.
“The important thing is what we do on a Saturday – on matchday. You can be the best player in training every week and be useless on the pitch, or you can be useless in training and be the best player on the pitch.
“We’ve got a few in-between them and listen, motivation is the last thing on my mind. They are motivated, they are in great spirits and like I said, they’ve been fantastic on and off the pitch.”
Some team-news ahead of welcoming Swindon Town to Rodney Parade on Saturday sees Flynn with several selection headaches.
Joss Labadie is continuing his own recovery from the anterior-cruciate-ligament injury that has ruled him out for the season, but Flynn has confirmed he has a whole host of other problems to contend with at the moment.
“I’ve got loads, you really don’t want to know honestly,” he stated.
“Listen, we’re struggling up-front. Marlon is out, Hayesy is out and Shawn McCoulsky is out. So yeah, we’re struggling.
“Marlon’s hamstring did stiffen up the other day. I’m not optimistic about that one. There’s not a chance that I’ll be on the bench though, I’m not fit enough, nowhere near. I’d rather put one of the youth boys on the bench.
“Got a lot out injured and it’s given me food for thought shall we say. We’re low on numbers but we will do everything we can to get the three points on Saturday.”
Flynn also wanted to update supporters with the latest news on Shawn McCoulsky after it was revealed that the striker was diagnosed with Pericarditis last week.
He added: “I haven’t spoken to Bristol City anymore on Shawn yet. Adam, our physio, is in close contact with the doctor and what’s happening with Bristol City.
“I think they wanted to check him over themselves which is understandable as he’s their player and I just hope he’s alright.
“If he’s out for the rest of the season but going to be fine after that then that’s all that concerns me. I am hoping he will be back because he would give us an extra option.”
McCoulsky’s absence alongside Jackson and Hayes sees Flynn left with a selection dilemma up-front. But Flynn is adamant that he will make the right decision ahead of the game.
He affirmed: “We’ve got forward thinking players [to fill in] but it just depends whether we go with three or two up-front.
“I personally do prefer the two but the way that we are at the moment and have been at some points earlier in the season, we might be more suited to the three.
“And obviously we will look at the other team’s weaknesses. It’s food for thought, it’s what I get paid to do, and hopefully I get it right.”