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PRE-MATCH | Michael Flynn: "He will be a big asset to the boys because he's been there, seen it and done it"

19 March 2021

Manager Michael Flynn says the arrival of Joe Ledley will provide Newport County AFC with a welcome boost in their promotion charge.

The Wales international joined County for the remainder of the season after penning a short-term contract at Rodney Parade.

Ledley, who trained with the Exiles last year before making a move Down Under, has been without a club since last year after departing A-League outfit Newcastle Jets.

The 34-year-old has since returned to Wales and opted to join the Exiles earlier this week, despite attracting interest from other clubs in the Football League.

He has made more than 500 appearances having enjoyed stints with Cardiff City, Celtic, Crystal Palace, Derby County and Charlton Athletic prior to his move to Australia.

And Flynn says Ledley's addition to the squad will bolster the Exiles' promotion push to Sky Bet League One.

"He will bring quality because he's played at the highest level and won 77 caps for Wales," said Flynn.

"He's played for some big clubs and he's got a wealth of experience on and off the pitch, so he will be a big asset to the boys because he's been there, seen it and done it.

"He's obviously played a couple of games in Australia and a few behind closed doors. He's not a spring chicken but he has got bags and bags of experience. Sometimes the older you get, the more you read the game and that puts you in a better position to start with."

Captain Joss Labadie, Josh Sheehan and Scot Bennett have become mainstays in the centre of the park in recent weeks, with the trio starting the last five games together.

But Flynn says the addition of Ledley will allow him to tinker with his squad, which could see Sheehan play behind the front two in a more advanced role.

While the Exiles boss wouldn't hesitate in deploying the 34-year-old at the heart of defence as cover for Matty Dolan, who has been key to County's style of play this season.

"There are loads of different things that we can do," said Flynn.

"We can maybe push Josh Sheehan higher up the pitch, if something happened to Matty Dolan he could maybe play in the middle of the three at the back.

"There are loads of different things that we can do and we have to work out what is best."

The experienced midfielder could make his Exiles bow in County's clash against Leyton Orient at the Cardiff City Stadium - one of his former stomping grounds - this weekend, pending his international clearance is completed.

It will be the final game in the Welsh capital before Flynn's side return to Rodney Parade for the remaining 10 games, with County aiming to return to strengthen their promotion bid before the international break.

Asked whether Ledley could feature against Orient, Flynn said: "I’ll make a decision as soon as I know about the international clearance. We want to get as many points as we can so hopefully Joe can help us with that.

"It's a game that we need to be at our best for. We want to get the win, regroup and then we've got six weeks to win games to get us in a position to get out of this league."

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