Mike Flynn has warned his Newport County AFC team that they will have to perform to their maximum on the weekend if they want to keep their good start to the League Two campaign going.
Stevenage travel to Rodney Parade as one of the form sides in the division, amassing 10 points from the previous 15 available, and they currently occupy a play-off position in the league table.
The Hertfordshire outfit also hold a vastly superior previous record against County, with the Exiles only tasting success in one of the eight previous League Two meetings.
And while Flynn wants to eradicate that statistic on the weekend, he admitted that his squad won’t get anything unless they are fully motivated against the travelling visitors.
“Saturday’s game will be a tough one," he affirmed.
“Stevenage will be up for it, they are doing well, and I know that Dino [Maamria’s] team will be very strong.
“Watching the boys yesterday and seeing how focused they are this week, I know we’ll be up for it as well.
“They are all tough games [in League Two] but I’m sure Dino will have them up for it on the weekend. He made nine changes last night [in the CheckaTrade Trophy] looking forward to the Newport game.
“I’ll take that as a compliment that he felt he needed to rest that many for Saturday, but it just says it’ll be a tough game.”
Flynn hinted to it, but Stevenage did make wholesale changes on Tuesday night when they entertained Charlton Athletic in the CheckaTrade Trophy.
Those alterations didn’t quite work, however, as they were dismantled 8-0 by a near full-strength Addicks side, although Flynn refused to read anything into the result.
He commented: "Yeah it is [an irrelevance.] Listen, it’s never nice losing by that amount at home but he’s switched on enough Dino, he knew where their bread and butter is and that’s the league.
"They’ll be coming here for three points on the weekend."
Stevenage manager Dino Maamria will be a familiar figure to County supporters, players and staff after his stint as assistant manager under the leadership of Graham Westley in the 2016/17 campaign.
Flynn probably knew Maamria best out of anyone due to being both a coach and player-coach during that time, and he had nothing but positivity to say when discussing the 47-year old.
"Listen, he’s very hard working. He’s very thorough in what he does and how he does things," he added.
"He’s got that determination that he wants to do well. Those are his qualities and we’ve just got to make sure that our qualities on the pitch are better than theirs on Saturday."
Some early team-news ahead of the game sees Flynn keeping his cards close to his chest.
Robbie Willmott made his inaugural League Two start last weekend following suspension and prior to that injury, while Matty Dolan was fit enough to make the bench in Nailsworth.
But other than that, Flynn wouldn’t be drawn too much on any further injury absentees or returning players to the squad.
He stated: “It’s good to have Robbie back on the pitch. He gives us so much scope to change things during the game without making a substitution because he’s very versatile.
"He’s got a lot of quality, I’d be very surprised if he didn’t get double figures this season for assists. I think he’s on four already so yes, he’s a big player for us.
"Matty’s back, he was on the bench last weekend because it was too early to start him. We’ll have to see how the rest of the week goes but he’s in contention.
"You’ll find out the rest when you see the team sheet on the weekend."
During last weekend’s tie with Forest Green Rovers, County again put forward a contender for the goal of the season award.
Against Cambridge United in August, there were 14 passes and nine players involved as Padraig Amond doubled the Exiles’ lead, but this time around it was a goal of much higher quantities.
At The New Lawn, County this time put together a 15-pass move, involving eight players on this occasion, and there was 35 touches before Amond again finished off the move.
Flynn commented on the football played by the Exiles: “We’ve been getting the players doing what we’re asking of them and again, the full credit has to go to them because they are the ones who have the confidence and the guts really to go out and do it.
“We can practise all we want but if they don’t go out on the field and do it on a Saturday then it can make the week a waste.
“They are really going out and expressing themselves and I couldn’t be happier about it.”
Amond’s equaliser at the end of that stunning move ensured County once again came back from a losing position to take something from the game.
In-fact, County have fought back on five occasions already this season and picked up a total of nine points in the process.
And while Flynn was proud of that statistic, he would much rather take the lead in the first instance and complete less nail-biting come-from-behind victories.
He affirmed: "It’s not great for me obviously because I’d much rather take the lead, score a few more goals and make it easier for ourselves.
"But it shows they are all together, you’ve only got to speak to the boys as well and they’ll all tell you the exact same thing. We’ve got a real tight-knit group, that includes the staff, we’re all together and we win together and we lost together.
"At the minute, they deserve all the praise they are getting but it’s early days and hopefully we carry it on.”
He added: “Nobody wants to start a game with an early goal against but it happens in football. We are not the only team it’s happened to and we won’t be the last.
"We’ve just got to keep concentrating, keep looking to improve and hopefully it’ll be a more straight forward game."