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PRESS | Mike Flynn looking for a reaction against Colchester United on Saturday

2 February 2018

Mike Flynn says he expects his side to show him a reaction on Saturday against Colchester United following the midweek defeat to play-off rivals Lincoln City.

The Exiles are yet to lose consecutive games in the league this season, in-fact never doing so under Mike Flynn’s guidance, with the last set of back-to-back defeats coming in February and March 2017.

Colchester will be trying to condemn the Exiles to another defeat on Saturday, although have been on a poor run of form themselves and haven’t won since the Boxing Day away victory over Crawley Town.

The U’s were also the side that took County’s unbeaten home record of 213 days, winning 2-1 at Rodney Parade earlier this season on 17th October 2017.

And Mike Flynn is expecting another tough test when he takes his squad to Essex on Saturday.

“Listen, they are a good team,” he affirmed.  

“They were decent when they came here, beat us although I still think we should have been out of sight before they had their chances.

“It’s another League 2 game and if we defend like we did the other night then we will probably end up losing.

“If we defend how we did against Tottenham we’ll end up winning, it’s as simple as that really.

“We’ve got to get that consistency.”

The game will arguably be one of the easiest team-talks for Flynn this season.

The game comes just four days before the Exiles have their dream Emirates FA Cup replay at Tottenham Hotspur, a game which is again on BT Sport 4K UD and will be the first time County play a game that will use video assistant referees (VAR.)   

And Flynn confirmed any player lacking in performance at the Weston Homes Community Stadium on Saturday will not play at Wembley as a result.

“Of course they have [to play well to keep their place,]” he confirmed.

“There is a character here now. I always look to the next game but if anybody playing on Saturday is looking towards Wembley before the game and it affects their performance, they would only have themselves to blame.

“I’m not here to sugar-coat anyone or wrap them in cotton wool, I think you saw Joss and Frank put a shift in the other night even though they are on nine yellows and that’s what we need.”

Some early team-news for the game sees Flynn with pretty much a clean bill of health to choose from.

David Pipe missed the trip to Sincil Bank with the hamstring problem sustained during the Tottenham game at Rodney Parade, while Mark O’Brien was forced to withdraw in the warm-up through illness.

But Flynn expects the pair to at least be nearing a return by the weekend, as all other squad members were in training yesterday and will be again today.

“We’ve got to reassess everyone today,” he added.

“Pipey is in with the chiropractor today trying to loosen his back in order to see whether it could help with his hamstring.

“Mark O’Brien is a lot better today, he’s stopped being sick and I think that’s it at the moment.

“Riggy will train today and Marlon Jackson will also be in training today.

“Tom Owen-Evans is also back so it’s near enough a full bill of health.”

The Exiles are currently four points behind the play-off places ahead of the trip to Essex and have surprisingly played a game more than most of their rivals.

But Flynn still feels it possible to finish in the top-seven this campaign.

“Of course it is,” he stated.

“Lincoln were below us before the game and I think they are a point ahead of us now.

“And now everybody is talking about Lincoln trying to get in the play-offs so we’re only a point behind them.

“We’ve lost a game of football. There aren’t many teams above us who have lost less than us, maybe it’s three or four, so it stands us in good stead.

“We are a tough team to beat, I was looking last night at it and I think we have drawn too many games where we should have won quite comfortably.”

It is likely to be a tough task for Flynn and his side to ascend into those prized play-off places, but Flynn insists that he has every confidence of pushing the other teams all the way this campaign.

“Yeah we have [to believe,]” he said.

“We will need a certain amount of wins to get where we want to be and I think it will take quite a lot of points to get in the play-offs this season.

“They all seem to be winning at the moment so I’m just hoping now that we go on a run and they all start playing each other and we can close that gap again.”

The Exiles suffered their first defeat in nine matches at the hands of Lincoln City on Tuesday.

But Flynn thought the Exiles were offensively good on the night. 

“I thought we played some really good football,” he added.  

“They still worked with the same intensity [as the Tottenham game] but we were sloppy.

“I’m not going to use any excuses, we were sloppy, and it doesn’t matter whether we played Saturday, Sunday or Monday because we shouldn’t have given those goals away.

“That was the disappointing thing but do you know what, they [Lincoln] have got a very good record at home and they are good at what they do.

“It’s one where you’ve got to dust yourselves down and go again. I’m looking for a reaction on Saturday.”

In-between the Lincoln game and the upcoming Colchester game came transfer deadline day.

County were inactive both in terms of incomings and outgoings on Wednesday but had a very busy month before that by bringing in five additions.

And while Flynn admitted he was pursuing another player late in the window, he confirmed he is happy with his squad going forward.

He affirmed: “I would have liked that one player which I have been chasing for about six weeks.

“It wasn’t to be, he’s in a Championship squad at the moment and he’s a regular with them now.

“I knew it was going to be tough as soon as I saw that was starting to develop but at least it shows that we are going for the right players.

“But of course I’m happy,” he continued.

“They have been superb with me and again their effort the other night was first class.

“They run and run and run, you have a look at it after Lincoln scored, we had a lot of chances.

“We had four or five shots before they scored as-well, didn’t hit the target once mind, but we did create a lot of opportunities.

“If Podge’s second chance went in and Joss finished his chance in the second-half then we’d have scored three at Lincoln and everybody would have been saying what an amazing performance it was.

“I’m not papering over the cracks, the defending was poor and that was what cost us.”

But the best news for Flynn during the month came with the announcement that Ben White would be staying for the season with the Exiles.

His parent club Brighton did have a recall clause on the defender, but after consultation with all parties White decided to stay in South Wales.

And Flynn couldn’t hide his relief at keeping the 20-year old.

He said: “I was worried at one point because two very good League 1 teams came in for him.

“You wouldn’t believe the amount of conversations I had with him walking around the track, with his agent and also with Brighton.

“He’s obviously a switched-on boy, spoke to his parents and listened to what I had to say about him playing regularly.

“And three weeks ago, he gave me his word that he would be staying and that was good enough for me.

“He’s enjoying his football, the happiest he’s been I think playing week in week out and he’s kept up to a level which he has set for himself.

“We didn’t quite know how good he was going to be, sometimes potential doesn’t always work out, but he’s a credit to himself and his club.”

Following the completion of the Colchester game, Flynn will then turn his attentions towards trying to mastermind a Wembley win in order to get County into the fifth round of the Emirates FA Cup for the first time since 1949.

Flynn was a keen viewer of Spurs’ 2-0 victory over Manchester United on Wednesday night and admitted that the result only went to show how good the Exiles were in the original game.

He added: “I turned it off after 12 seconds!

“I think Eriksen makes a big difference to them so I hope he gets the flu again and gives it to a few others.

“They were superb last night and let’s not forget what a good team they are.

“It makes our result even better because if they went and did that to one of the best clubs in the world three or four days after playing us, then it goes to show how good we were on Saturday.”

The tough run of fixtures for Tottenham certainly doesn’t show any signs of letting up as they head to Anfield to face Liverpool on Sunday.

And Flynn hopes his favourite team share the points with Spurs at the weekend.

He admitted: “I’m hoping they draw so it keeps Tottenham right in the race for fourth place.

“They might rest a few against us then so on a selfish level I hope they draw and it keeps them in the hunt.

“If Liverpool win 5-0 then it might tip me over the edge, it might be me with the flu that day then!”

Flynn will be one of the first people to both play and manage at the new Wembley stadium on Wednesday.

And he certainly couldn’t contain his excitement at leading the side out at such a prestigious stadium in just under a week’s time.

“It’s unbelievable,” he admitted.  

“Arguably it’s going to be in the top three proudest moments of my career, walking Newport County AFC out at Wembley.

“It’s an amazing occasion for our fans who get to go there again, and obviously the players.

“It’s a nice reward for what we have done – I’ll be honest and say I would have rather killed them off on Saturday but it wasn’t to be.

“The atmosphere was superb and let’s hope it’s like that on Wednesday.”

Away from the first-team fold, Momodou Touray has been busy completing a 10-day work experience trial with ex-Premier League champions Leicester City.

And while Flynn expects the attacker to re-join his squad after the weekend, he did say he was pleased to see how well Momodou has been performing with the East Midlands outfit. 

“He’s not back yet,” he confirmed.  

“He’s been doing well there, and he played against Man City the other day so probably didn’t touch the ball.  

“I’m sure he’s a bit tired today but I will speak to him later as I always keep in touch with them.

“It’ll be interesting what happens, but he did start well up there.

“It’s big – it’s good for the club if they come in for him and I think it was his performances for Wales that caught the eye.

“Fair play to him, he deserves it.

“He’s not ready to play in League 2 yet in my opinion. He needs to get fitter and he needs to get used to the hustle and bustle of League 2.

“We’ve got some good strikers here as-well so he’s below them at the moment.”


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