Can Michael Flynn continue to sparkle at Newport County?by Mike Holden / 14 July 2017, 11:16Tweet
Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) previews Michael Flynn and Newport County ahead of the upcoming 2017/18 League Two season.
Newport were 11 points adrift of safety with only 12 games remaining when Michael Flynn stepped in as caretaker following the departure of Graham Westley in March. Seven wins later, the Exiles retained their EFL status in the most dramatic fashion as full back Mark O’Brien netted a last-minute winner against Notts County on the final day to send Hartlepool down instead. Now 15 of the 18 players involved on that remarkable day remain part of the set-up, as Flynn looks to build on the back of it.
Flynn is evidently consumed by local pride and has made no secret of how honoured he is to lead his hometown club. Presumably, his biggest trick last season was conveying that depth of feeling to his players. However, beyond that, there’s plenty we still don’t know about the 36-year-old midfielder. His media briefings give the impression of a man who focuses on the bigger picture rather than fine details and he appears to be quick to draw conclusions about most situations.
"I’m not one to celebrate survival. That’s not what I’m about. I’m a winner and I want to win things. I’ll make sure that this season Newport County won’t be in that position again. I don’t want to be going through what the fans, the club and myself went through in those final few weeks last season where it was nerve-wracking and tense. We’ve got a new pitch going down so that particular issue is hopefully going to be a thing of the past."
Football advisor Lennie Lawrence reckons Newport could be a top-half team this season but it looks a tall order after two successive seasons finishing one place above the drop zone. On balance, the new surface at Rodney Parade should work in their favour. It might be more appealing to away teams but the prospect of avoiding a raft of postponements and the cumulative fatigue from playing on heavy ground more than compensates. Another downside is playing 11 successive away matches first (including pre-season) while they wait for it to be laid.
Prediction: bottom half