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PRESS | Manager Michael Flynn looks ahead to Saturday's League Two play-off final clash with Tranmere Rovers

24 May 2019

Manager Michael Flynn says he will leave no stone unturned in his quest to get Newport County AFC promoted into League One with a victory in Saturday’s play-off final against Tranmere Rovers.

Only three members of the current squad haven’t played at Wembley before, while Flynn has both played and managed at the English national stadium since being associated with Newport County AFC.

Those experiences will go some way to aiding the Exiles ahead of the game in terms of mentality, but Flynn also appreciates that in a one-off game, anything can happen.

And that’s why Flynn is being so meticulous in his approach to the game, giving County every chance of success at Wembley.

He affirmed; “I think it can help [playing at Wembley previously] with the build-up and everything but once you get on that pitch, the players have to stand up and be counted.

“I think there’s only three players in the squad who haven’t been to Wembley in a playing capacity.

“We’ve got a very experienced team in regard to that but I’m sure a lot of the Tranmere players have been there as well. It can help in the build up with the pre-match nerves but it's whoever handles the occasion best when kick-off happens.

“The players deserve all the plaudits and the credit because they’re the ones who go and do the business on the Saturday.

“We can prepare them as well as we can, but ultimately, when they cross that white line then they have to stand up and make their own decisions as well. It’s not just a game of intelligence, patterns of play and philosophies, they’ve got to be able to handle the occasion as well.

“There will be no stone left unturned. We’ll be as prepared as we can be, this week has gone well so far, and we’ll have them ready in peak condition for Saturday.”

County have an excellent recent history against The Super White Army and are unbeaten in the last four against the Birkenhead outfit, conceding just the once.

Excluding one chance he passed up in the away fixture back in late September, Tranmere talisman James Norwood has been kept relatively quiet by the County defence.

But the 28-year-old was voted League Two Player of the Year for a reason and his 32 goals thus far this campaign speak for themselves in turns of the danger County might face.

But the Exiles cannot become too fixated on the striker as they have danger men right throughout the team from defence to attack.

Flynn continued: “James Norwood is a big threat. But’s he’s got to get the ammunition first from players like Connor Jennings who’s very dangerous. Jake Caprice coming down the right as well.

“Try to stop it at source is the easiest way. Prevention is better than cure.

“But James Norwood works his socks off and he’s a good finisher. You don’t score 32 goals without being a good finisher.

“He’s just one of their threats but I’m confident that whoever plays up-front for us will be just as good or even better that that.

“Tranmere will bring a lot of energy and a big threat. You see the players they’ve got there, Sid Nelson, James Norwood, Jay Harris in the midfield to name but a few.

“There’s not much between the teams but you’d probably say with Tranmere finishing above us in the league then they’re slight favourites. That doesn’t bother me.”

The two previous fixtures this season prove there’s not too much difference between the sides and there’s links between the coaching staffs of both clubs as well.

He explained: “They finished above us in the league, got some very good players and a good manager in Micky Mellon. They’ve got a good assistant manager as well in Michael Jackson who I played alongside at Blackpool.

“My assistant Wayne Hatswell used to play alongside Micky Mellon, so they’ll know what kind of characters we are as we do with them.

“They’re people I’ve got a lot of respect for, Micky’s done a fantastic job going down to Tranmere. They’ve made huge strides and they’ll be thinking exactly the same as us. Let’s not beat around the bush, they’ll believe they can get promoted and we’ve got to stop them doing that.

“It’s going to be a very tough game but if we turn up and play to the best of our abilities, I’m confident we’ll get promoted.”

Talking about the match from a personal perspective, Flynn said: “On a personal level, as a young manager, I’ve had some extraordinary experiences already.

“I’ve had a relegation battle; good FA Cup runs and now we’ve got the play-off final. The only thing missing so far is a promotion and let’s hope I get that on Saturday.

“It doesn’t matter what I feel like as long as the players feel all right. It is all about them, but it will be a very proud moment for myself.

“I said it before the Tottenham game last season that leading County at Wembley was another box ticked so to do it again the following year goes to show how much we’ve improved.”

With the club’s Spytty Park training facility currently undergoing maintenance, County have been fortunate enough to secure the use of the Cardiff City Stadium in the build up to the game.

Click here to see some pictures from the Welsh Capital.

The Exiles will also be using the facilities of a Championship club in London closer to matchday.

And Flynn wanted to place on record his thanks to the clubs and their staff for affording County the ideal preparation ahead of such an important match.

Flynn added: “It was very generous of Cardiff City to help us out and I would like to thank Ken Choo, Neil Warnock, and I know Ronnie Jepsen has helped as well.

“It’s a fantastic facility. It’s good to have those kinds of people who are willing to help you out when you need it.

“We’ve also been helped out by Brentford, so we’ll be training there in the build up to the game. I’d like to thank Kevin O’Connor and also Mark Warburton, who I know is at QPR now but he helped me get in contact with Kevin.

“It goes to show that if you do things the right way then people will try and help you. I’m lucky that we’ve got those contacts.”


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