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Interviews

PRESS | Mike Flynn spoke to the Press this morning at a snowy Spytty Stadium

1 March 2018

Mike Flynn insists his Newport County AFC squad will continue to train as normal despite Saturday's game with Accrington Stanley being postponed.

Red weather warnings were issued across South Wales by the Met Office on Thursday morning, with the squad now planning to train indoors today and tomorrow due to heavy snowfall at the training ground.

But Flynn confirmed his squad are still treating it as business as normal despite the postponement - owing to the fact that Forest Green Rovers are expected to travel to South Wales on Tuesday night.  

“I’m not really concerned,” he affirmed.

“It [the postponement] won’t be the only one this weekend because of the weather conditions around the UK.

“It’s extreme. Only a couple of days ago the sun was out and you were thinking that Spring was around the corner. And now we’ve got a snow shower.

“It is what it is, you can’t dictate the weather, the ground staff did all they could have done by covering the pitch.”

Both Newport County AFC and Accrington Stanley took the decision to postpone the game early so that all supporters had enough time to make alternate plans for the weekend. 

And Flynn believes those were the right steps to take due to further snowfall being expected in the coming days. 

He added: “I think it’s fair for the supporters [to know as soon as possible.]

“That’s the big concern here, the supporters, so they can now make different plans on the weekend if needed.

“But also the supporters of Accrington Stanley who will be making the trip down, the club, the players, management staff and they all deserve to know where we are as soon as possible.

Had the game been deemed playable, the Exiles would have been looking for their first win in nine matches from all competitions, whilst also seeking their first goal in over 500 minutes of football.

Standing in their way would have been an Accrington Stanley team who are currently the form side in the division.

Stanley have won nine of their last eleven League 2 matches, including six successive wins at home, and have picked up at-least three more points than anybody else in the division since 3rd February.

And Flynn was expecting another tough test at the weekend.

“You want to win every game,” he confirmed.

“As a football club, we want to win all football matches and trust me, there is no-one more disappointed than myself when we don’t.

“It’s always going to be tough – we’re Newport County AFC, we’re not Tottenham Hotspur or one of the big guns in this league.

“We haven’t got a divine right to win football matches and where we’re at with the football club is a massive improvement.

“As long as we’re improving year after year, that’s all we can ask for.”

The postponement still leaves two-thirds of the games left this season being played in South Wales, with Flynn believing those home encounters will play a major factor in whether County are contenders for the play-offs come the end of the season.

“It’s a big swing,” he stated.

“And it’s a big swing in our favour. We’ve obviously played the away games already so it’s not as if we are going to play more home games than away.

“We’re looking forward to it. We always like playing in-front of our fans, they are a great group, and they have been tremendous since I have been here.”

The play-offs are still a realistic aim for Flynn and his squad.

But he has warned his squad against complacency, as every team that the Exiles will face from now until the end of the season will also be playing for something – whether that be promotion or survival.  

“Of course they are [still a possibility,]” he said.  

“We’re down to the final 12 games, nine points behind the play-offs with a game in hand.

“I just want to finish the season on a high. I want to make sure we do the right things by ourselves and the right things by the supporters.

“You never know, we could get on a run again and we’ll see where that takes us.

“Like I said, it’s game by game now, I’m not getting carried away and if you look at the fixtures we have got left, whether it be home or away, nearly everyone has something to play for.

“Whether that’s promotion or to stay up and we know how dangerous that can be. We were in that position last season and we upset a lot of teams.”

Some early team-news for the clash with Forest Green Rovers on Tuesday night sees no further injury absentees joining defender Scot Bennett on the treatment table.

But Flynn confirmed there was an “interesting” injury suffered in training on Tuesday.

He continued: “We’ve had a good week, I think Matty Dolan broke his nose on Tuesday so that was interesting.

“He went up for a challenge in training, him and Dan Butler collided, so he’s got a nice bruise and a cut on his nose.

“That was enjoyable watching really, I could see the boys getting stuck into each other and showing that hunger which was refreshing to watch.

“Gutted for Matty obviously because he has a bad nose, but it showed the appetite is still there, they are working very hard these players and that’s what they have shown all season.

“I am really happy that they’ve managed to improve on what was quite a downcast season last year.”

That injury is not expected to affect Dolan’s participation in midweek, with any other knocks around the squad also expected to heal in time for the game.

Flynn added: “I doubt it [will affect Matty on Tuesday night.]

“There’s a couple of other little niggles, I think Mark O’Brien tried to kick me, so I joined in and he ended up hurting himself.

“But look, he’s fine. They all want to play, all itching to play now and that’s what we want.

“I’ll make a decision on the team who I think can win us the game.”

David Pipe was seen with an ice bag around his knee following the 0-0 draw at Port Vale last weekend.

But Flynn has confirmed that his right-back will be okay to keep his place, as he looks to add to the 36 appearances that he has already made this campaign.

He said: “Like I’ve said before, you wouldn’t expect him to play that many games.

“On the whole he’s been brilliant this season, of course he’s had his ups and downs, but over the course of the season he’s been very consistent.

“Like I said, he’s played more than I thought he would and that means he will get the odd knock here and there.

“He’s in great condition and he recovers well so we’ll have to assess everything ahead of Saturday. But he has trained as normal this week.”

Away from League 2 action, it was announced in mid-week that Tom Owen-Evans would be joining National League South outfit Truro City on loan until the end of the season.

And Flynn confirmed that this decision was taken to allow the midfielder to get regular game time before returning in the summer.

He commented: “What people don’t realise is that he was injured for three or four weeks after the Cheltenham game.

“He’s had a bit of a stop-start season. He tried to keep playing with the injury because he thought it was a dead leg, but it turned out to be more of a thigh strain.

“That didn’t help him because he had just got back in, thought he did quite well at Cheltenham but then he had to miss four weeks.

“I just thought it was right to get him in a team fighting at the right end of the table in Truro City, and give him a chance to get a succession of games under his belt before he returns in the summer.”

Owen-Evans made 15 appearances for County this season, the last of which came in a late cameo capacity against Exeter City on New Years Day.

And Flynn is hopeful that the midfielder can continue to improve his development as Truro City battle like the Exiles for a play-off berth in their respective divisions.

“He needs to kick on now,” he continued.  

“I’ve had good chats with Tom and I’m always here to help him. He seems to be taking the advice on board now, he seems a little bit bigger, little bit stronger and he seems to have that edge about him again.

“I think he did lose that at the beginning of the season, so I’m hoping now that he goes there and does really well.

“He would then come back with his confidence sky-high again.”

Owen-Evans will still be training with the Exiles during his loan spell at the Cornwall side.

And Flynn feels this is the right thing to do in order to keep the player integrated within the first-team environment.

“He’ll still be training with us,” he affirmed.  

“That was one of the conditions that I wanted. The training we do here in terms of intensity is key to these younger lads.

“We’ve got Tyler Reid for example on fitness regimes. He can do all the short, sharp stuff all day long, but it’s just about the endurance which he needs to improve on.

“We’ve been working with him on that and it’s getting him into a good condition to step in if we need him.”

 

* Manager Michael Flynn was speaking to the press before the match had been postponed.

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With Saturday's match vs Accrington Stanley postponed, here are your next two opportunities to follow County!

NEXT UP| It's a mid-week clash with FOREST GREEN ROVERS on 6th March. Join us at Rodney Parade.

ON THE ROAD| A short hop to YEOVIL awaits on the 10th March.  Join us at Huish Park.


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