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PRE-MATCH | Michael Flynn: "They need to help their team-mates out who’ve never been in this position before"

23 April 2021

Manager Michael Flynn says experienced heads will be key in Newport County AFC’s bid to reach the Sky Bet League Two play-offs.

The Exiles occupy seventh - the final play-off position - with four games of the regular campaign left.

Eight of County’s current squad played a part in the Exiles’ journey to the Sky Bet League Two play-off final two seasons ago.

While the likes of Ryan Taylor, Dom Telford, Nicky Maynard have all enjoyed being part of a promotion push and have reached the third tier with previous clubs in recent seasons.

And Flynn says experience in County’s ranks could prove to be the difference in sealing a top-seven finish in their remaining fixtures.

"They need to go above and beyond and not just concentrate on themselves,” said Flynn on the players who have been in a promotion push at this stage before.

"They need to help their team-mates out who’ve never been in this position before - that is what a team is all about. You try to guide younger players and they will try to do the extra few yards for the older players if needed.

"They’ve all got to come together which they have done all season.

"They’ve got a good bond in the changing room and hopefully we’ll play well tomorrow and get what we deserve.”

Matty Dolan - the midfielder-turned-defender this season - is one of the eight players who helped County book their place at Wembley for the play-off final in 2019.

The 28-year-old, who has been an important figure for County again this term, has made 41 appearances this season but missed out on County’s last two outings against Cambridge United and Crawley Town through concussion.

But he’s in contention for Saturday’s trip to play-off rivals Exeter City, which Flynn says will leave him with a selection dilemma after County’s display in their win over Crawley on Tuesday.

"Matty is available and it's a decision that I've got to make about whether he comes back in," added Flynn.

"It's a big decision because he has been very good this season but everybody played well the other night against Crawley.”

County sit three points ahead of Exeter ahead of their visit to St James Park on the weekend in what is set to be a crunch clash.

The Exiles played out a 1-1 draw against Matt Taylor’s side in February despite enjoying a numerical advantage after the Grecians were reduced to nine men.

Alex Hartridge and Ryan Bowman were both given their marching orders in the first half at Rodney Parade, but Flynn says his opposite number Matty Taylor will join him in calling for cool heads this time around.

"Matty will expect discipline from his boys and I’ll be expecting the same from us," said Flynn.

"They were fighting for their lives when they were here because they played with nine men right until the end.

"On that night they showed me they were a different side to what they usually are. They dug in and you’ve got to give credit when it’s due because I was impressed with Exeter."

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