Mike Flynn has warned his players that previous results will count for nothing when Newport County AFC try to make it five wins in succession against Cambridge United at Rodney Parade tomorrow.
County have certainly had the number of Cambridge over the last 12 months, winning both League Two meetings last season, alongside an Emirates FA Cup victory and a convincing performance in the Carabao Cup last month.
That is in stark contrast to previous history beyond the last 12 months, with both clubs sharing results in the non-league, and Cambridge taking at least a point in every other Football League meeting since 1987.
But Flynn says his squad cannot solely rely on prior history if they want to achieve the three points at Rodney Parade and will have to be at their very best to get the victory.
“Previous results count for nothing,” he affirmed.
“Cambridge will be looking for a win and so will we. It all depends who turns up on the day, who makes the least errors and who puts the ball in the back of the net.
“I know it’s easy to say but it’s something we’ll be looking to do tomorrow at home.”
It’s not been the easiest start to the season for Cambridge as they prepare to head to South Wales, with the U’s currently languishing in 19th position after collecting just eight points from the opening nine league fixtures.
But Flynn says his team cannot afford to look at the league positions ahead of the game and picked out some players he thought could cause danger tomorrow.
He continued: “They’ve got some very good players, George Maris, Jabo Ibehre and Reggie Lambe.
“We’ll have to have a look at them, they are quite big at the back so they’re not a bad side.
“They’ll be looking for a win – no game in this league is easy and there are a lot of tough, tough games. But we have to go out and win if we want to stay where we are.”
He added: “We won’t be approaching this game any differently to any other, we’ll give them our full respect. They are only a couple of wins from climbing up the table, I know Joe Dunne the manager will be eager to do that starting Saturday.
“He’s passionate about the game, he’ll be trying to rub that off on the players so there will be no different approach, there’s just what we think is the right approach.
“We know we need to take the points on Saturday.”
County head into the game on the back of two resolute and gritty clean sheets at Tranmere Rovers and in the CheckaTrade Trophy against Chelsea U21s.
Flynn made nine changes from the side picked in Merseyside for the home game against the development Chelsea side and believes most of the players to come into the team have now given him some selection headaches with their performances.
He stated: “It was a good chance to get a few minutes into a couple of players who needed it, and not only did I think it was a good thing that they played, it was nice for a few of them to have a win as well.
“That boosts them, it gets their confidence up a bit more as well, so it was a positive night all round.
“Listen, a lot of the players did very well. Antoine Semenyo came on and did well, Mark Harris did well, Cameron Pring did well.
“Mark O’Brien and Tyler Forbes did very well, Nick Townsend’s distribution was a lot better and it was good all round. Charlie Cooper grew into the game and did well as did Josh Sheehan – they both got better.
“Lewis Collins did alright first-half, tired a little bit as did Jay Foulston but again, that’s because they haven’t had much first-team football and don’t get tested like that week in week out.
“It was a big step up for them, but I thought they did okay. Across the board, it was very pleasing for me and to come through with no injuries, even if Jamille did give us a scare towards the end, was another plus.
“It was a good night, but I just want to move on now to Cambridge United on Saturday and hopefully pick the right team to win the game.”
Despite admitting he wanted to bring some players back into the side to give them an opportunity to get some much-needed minutes, Flynn also revealed some changes were enforced with a couple of injury concerns in his squad.
He continued: “Look I’ve said before that I wanted to change the team anyway, I needed to give a few a game.
“But Antoine was ill, Tyreeq was struggling, Matty Dolan was struggling, Keanu was out, Crofty was out – there was a lot of changes that I had to make.
“Fraser Franks had a stiff quad, so some changes were forced but sometimes that can be a blessing. Like I said, some of these players have been part of a win and its good for their confidence.”
Looking specifically at the performances individually in midweek, Jamille Matt certainly did his case no harm when becoming County’s top scorer for the season after moving up to four goals.
Flynn affirmed: “Look, it’s nice for Jamille to score goals. He’s almost hit the target which he got last season and he’s not really had a full weeks training so far.
“He’s had a couple of niggly injuries, it gets his confidence up and also Antoine coming on and getting a goal. Podge and Sparky as well so it’s good competition up there and it definitely gives me selection headaches.”
Another player to stand out, after doing exactly the same at Tranmere Rovers, was stand in captain Mark O’Brien.
That could potentially leave Flynn with another selection headache to make when choosing what centre-backs to play at Rodney Parade, but he revealed he could alter things to accommodate everyone.
Flynn commented: “Scot Bennett played in midfield at Tranmere and I thought he was absolutely excellent in the game. His discipline, his positional sense and the amount of work he got through was unbelievable.
“He’s unsung I think but certainly not within the group here, they all respect him, and I was really pleased for him on Saturday because he was excellent, and it was about time he got some praise.”