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PRE-MATCH | Michael Flynn: "A lot of the squad are back so we should be close to full strength"

9 September 2021

Manager Michael Flynn is relishing the selection dilemmas he faces ahead of Newport County AFC’s clash against Harrogate Town.

The Exiles make the trip up north to the EnviroVent Stadium to take on the early league leaders and will be boosted by the return of several players.

A coronavirus outbreak in County’s camp saw seven players ruled out of last Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Leyton Orient, with four members of the squad testing positive for Covid and a further three isolating after coming into close contact with the quartet.

Flynn confirmed he will still remain without two players due to the outbreak, while summer signing Courtney Senior is the only long-term absentee after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in pre-season.

But the Exiles boss says the returning players are itching to get back into his matchday squad, which has provided him with a welcome selection headache.

“A lot of the squad are back so we should be close to full strength,” said Flynn.

“I have to make a few decisions on whether they are involved tomorrow or Tuesday or Saturday.

“We will pick the best squad available and it’s down to those boys to get back in.

“There are nine players, one of them coming back from injury, pushing to get into that 18. There are going to be a lot of unhappy players that miss out.”

The trip to Yorkshire will be the first of four away fixtures in the next three months which will be played on a Friday night.

And Flynn explained the positives of bringing the fixture forward a day instead of the traditional Saturday 3pm kick-off.

"There a few reasons and it helps with travel and costs,” explained Flynn

"Harrogate were more than happy to go along with it and if we can reduce costs and play under lights, it can be a different atmosphere.

"Whether Friday or Saturday, we're not going to have hundreds of fans going up because of the distance and the hotel costs.

"Let's try and get a win and put the fans that couldn't make it in a good mood all weekend.”

Harrogate have set the pace at the top of the Sky Bet League Two table in the opening five games of the campaign, with manager Simon Weaver adding quality to his squad this summer after guiding the Sulphurites to safety in their first season in the Football League.

Weaver's side finished 17th last season but Flynn believes they should be targeting a place in the play-offs this season.

“Harrogate are full of confidence, they’ve strengthened and they are already playing really well.

“Simon is doing a very good job there. It was a fantastic achievement getting them into the league and they were very organised last season. 

“They’ve got to be looking at the top seven and I can’t give them enough compliments. I know how difficult the game is going to be on Friday night.”


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