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PRE-MATCH | Michael Flynn: "The one thing I won’t be doing is parking the bus"

22 May 2021

Manager Michael Flynn insists Newport County AFC will not be playing for a draw in their play-off semi-final second leg against Forest Green Rovers.

The Exiles travel to the Innocent New Lawn on Sunday evening leading 2-0 on aggregate after goals from Matty Dolan and Lewis Collins in the first leg at Rodney Parade.

County know a draw or even a 1-0 defeat would be enough to book them a place in the final at Wembley for the second time in three seasons.

But Flynn says his side will not be sitting back and will be looking to add to their two-goal tally.

"It’s a massive game because we want to get to Wembley and hopefully get promoted," said the Exiles boss.

"It’s a huge occasion and we’re playing against a very good Forest Green team who are dangerous and can beat anyone on their day - I’m under no illusions about that. 

"But the one thing I won’t be doing is parking the bus.

"I think they were slight favourites going into it and all that’s happened now is we’ve moved to being slight favourites to go through. The pressure is on them to get the next goal."

Flynn’s side were cheered on by a home crowd for the first time in 14 months for the first leg on Tuesday evening, but there will be no away following in Gloucestershire due to restrictions.

And, despite around 1,500 home supporters expected to be in attendance, the Exiles boss says his side must look to use it to their advantage.

"For the boys it should be a boost playing in front of any crowd, whether they are home or away," he added.

"They are going to be behind their team and they’ll try to be the 12th man. 

"But we’ll focus on ourselves and if we do that by playing to the best of our ability and making no silly mistakes, hopefully we can get to the final."

Captain Joss Labadie missed out on the first leg after suffering a knee injury on the final day of the regular season against Southend United, which saw the Exiles seal their place in the play-offs.

Labadie watched on from the sidelines at Rodney Parade for the first leg on Tuesday as Dolan, who has been utilised as a centre-back this term, filled the void left by the County skipper in midfield.

But he will be available for Sunday’s second leg and Flynn says it will provide him with a selection dilemma.

"He was fit [for Tuesday] but I put his welfare first because it was a risk that he could break down again.

"He would’ve missed the second leg and the final if we get there. I had to do what was best for Joss because he wanted to play but the risk wasn’t worth the reward. He’s a big player for us, everyone knows that and we’ll have to work out whether we start him or not.

"It’s a tough decision but I’ve always said I’ll pick a team on the day to beat what’s in front of us. I don’t always get it right otherwise I wouldn’t be in League Two, but you make the decision for the right reasons.”


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