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PRE-MATCH | Michael Flynn: "We need to win so we can think about catching Cambridge"

16 April 2021

Manager Michael Flynn says Newport County AFC haven't given up hope of sealing a top-three finish this season.

The Exiles set the pace at the Sky Bet League Two summit for the first half of the season but now occupy the penultimate play-off spot in their bid to secure promotion.

They are eight points adrift of third-placed Bolton Wanderers, who they have played a game less than, and will have the opportunity to reduce that gap against Cambridge United on Saturday afternoon.

Flynn's men have been out of the top three since the 3-2 defeat Oldham Athletic in mid-January, but he says they aren't giving up hope of climbing back into the automatic positions.

"We need to win tomorrow so we can think about catching Cambridge," said Flynn.

"I’m not thinking about the play-offs if I’m honest and if any of the players are, they’ll be fully reminded.

"Nerves, loss of form, injuries, tough places to go and teams fighting all come into it, so there are no givens in this league. As you’ve seen, it’s been a strange year and everybody is capable of beating everybody. 

"Southend beat us and then they beat Forest Green, and they looked down and out. Barrow went on a run and won a load of games by beating us and Exeter. We beat Bolton when they were supposedly unbeatable, so anybody can beat anybody on their day."

The Exiles have six games remaining to strengthen their grip on the top seven, starting with the clash against the high-flying U's at Rodney Parade.

County secured a 1-0 victory over Mark Bonner's side in the Carabao Cup earlier in the campaign before falling to a 2-1 defeat at the Abbey Stadium.

Paul Mullin, who has 30 goals to his name this season, has been the standout performer in the U's promotion charge this term, bagging a brace against the Exiles in his side's league triumph.

And despite being aware of Cambridge's quality all over the park, Flynn says his side will have to keep a close eye on the striker.

"Cambridge have had a remarkable season and one thing that they have got in their team is goals," said Flynn.

"Paul Mullin has got 30 goals and that is an outstanding return at every level, it makes a massive difference.

"I like him as a lad; he is a very hard worker and a team player. I want him to have a quiet day against us but he deserves everything he gets.

"He has been around for a while now and is somebody who always wears his heart on his sleeve. He is getting his rewards for hard work."

County will be without defender Matty Dolan for the clash against the U's after he was forced off with concussion during the Exiles' goalless draw against Carlisle United in mid-week.

"Crawley is 50/50, I'll need to check with the medical staff," said Flynn on the duration of Dolan's absence.

"Missing Priestley means that we have had to put Scot Bennett back there and we miss him from midfield.

"It's frustrating because I wanted everybody fit until the end of the season, but it's not to be at the minute."


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