Mike Flynn says his Newport County AFC side have to match their level of performance from Tuesday night if they want a similar kind of result tomorrow against high-flyers Mansfield Town.
David Flitcroft’s team are the form side in the division at the moment, rising through the table to currently sit just two points off pace setters Lincoln City and they’ve only lost three league games all season – a division best.
Of those three defeats, only one of those has come away from home – when they were narrowly edged out in a five-goal thriller at Carlisle United on 5th January.
And Flynn believes the Exiles will need to be at their very best to topple the Stags at Rodney Parade.
“It’s a league game, different atmosphere, less crowd, and Mansfield Town will be the favourites,” he affirmed.
“They are towards the top for a reason and we have to raise our game to get anything out of it. If we don’t raise our levels, we’ll lose the football match – simple as that.
“I will never dress anything up – Mansfield are a strong team and I’m almost certain they’ll go up.”
If there’s ever a time to put a run together in the league, it would be in the final months of the campaign.
County haven’t quite been able to replicate their heroic Emirates FA Cup performances in League Two of late and trail the play-offs by ten points with a solitary game in hand.
That could all change with a superior run of form – three of the next five league matches are at home – and Flynn feels County aren’t too far away from securing better results in League Two.
He explained: “I don’t want to keep banging on about it, but we’ve lost seven games in a row away from home and we should have got something more out of five of them – and not just a draw in some of them.
“It’s small margins, concentration levels, consistency levels and they’ve got to do it.
“We nearly broke the club’s record number of away wins on the bounce, if we would have scored the penalty at Forest Green Rovers.
“It’s crazy that’s its flipped but it is what it is.”
Ahead of the Mansfield game, the players won’t need any extra motivation than the feeling of toppling Championship Middlesbrough in midweek to set-up a fifth-round tie with Manchester City.
Flynn continued: “The players deserve all the credit because they were the ones who went out and produced the goods.
“The level of performance they played on Tuesday night was the best I’ve seen them produce and now that’s a marker for them which they need to keep.
“They need to keep those levels for the rest of the season and it’s a not a one-off that they’ve showed they could do it, they’ve done it in the league as well.
“Now they’ve got the adrenaline it should carry them through for a good couple of weeks.
“We’re playing against one of the best teams in the league, one of the biggest budgets in the league, and it’s going to be tough.
“I think they’ve lost two out of 20 in the league so it’s going to be a tough, tough game.”
Such is the importance of tomorrow’s game that there was no rest for the wicked after the Middlesbrough game and the players were back in training the following morning.
Flynn confirmed: “We were in on Wednesday, had a quick little chat about things, the boys who didn’t play trained and the ones who did play had a recovery session.
“We went on to Mansfield straightaway. It’s relentless and we had to move on to the big game we’ve got tomorrow.”
However, one player who was exempt from the training session on Wednesday was Joe Day.
BT Sport’s cameras picked up Day sprinting straight off the pitch upon the referee’s final whistle in midweek, with the Exiles goalkeeper rushing to meet his new-born baby twins.
Flynn stated: “I gave Joe Wednesday and yesterday off. Look, we’ve got a game Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday – a bit like Groundhog Day really.
“Joe is fine – he hasn’t dropped the twins yet!
“That just added to the magical evening we had on Tuesday – what a fantastic present to go home to, two beautiful twins.
“Everybody is healthy, his partner Lizzie has done so well and what more could he ask for?
“He’ll never forget their birthdays, will he?”
In further team-news, Flynn added: “Fraser Franks is back training today I think, Ade Azeez is looking sharper so he might be one I’m thinking about.
“If not, Ade and Harry McKirdy will be more towards Tuesday.
“Harry had a little niggle and with Ade, we need to make sure he’s up to speed with the way we play.
“We need him in the condition that he doesn’t break down or doesn’t get injured because the pitches are heavy now.
“We need to give him the right conditioning to hit the ground running and we’ll do that.”