Why Newport County manager Michael Flynn is the man to step into Danny Cowley’s shoes at Lincoln City

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 11 September 2019, 11:50

“Michael Flynn has been the manager of the year, I think he has been tremendous. You look at what he has done there over the past two-and-a-half seasons.”

After leading Lincoln City to the League Two title back in April, Danny Cowley was quick to shower praise upon Flynn ahead of the Imps’ duel against Newport, who would beat the champions en route to clinching a dramatic play-off place on the final day of last season.

The Exiles’ bid to bag a spot in the third-tier for the first time since 1986/87 was agonisingly brought to an end by Tranmere Rovers in the play-off final, in the last-minute of extra-time.

However, Newport haven’t let the disappointment eat away at them with Flynn’s unbeaten troops flying out the blocks this season with 15 points from seven games - only leaders Exeter have more points on the board.

After winning promotion Lincoln have also gone on to enjoy a decent start to the season - 5th, League One - a start which they hope won’t be punctured by Monday’s departure of the Cowley brothers, who jumped up to the Championship with Huddersfield.

The early favourite to replace Cowley at Lincoln? Michael Flynn.

Since replacing Graham Westley in March 2017 Flynn, on one of the smallest budgets in League Two, has catapulted Newport from the clutches of relegation up to the opposite end of the table.

The Exiles have been transformed into an organised, well-drilled, cohesive unit who are both tough to beat and difficult to score against.

Last season they registered 17 league clean sheets, and have already added a further six shutouts this term (in succession), while they are yet to suffer a league defeat with Flynn’s troops flying high in 2nd spot.

As well as featuring in the play-offs last season, Newport reached the FA Cup fifth round for the first time since 1948/49, after shocking Leicester and Middlesbrough respectively. The club’s memorable run then came to an end by Man City who went on to win the competition and claim an unprecedented English domestic treble.

Newport fans will obviously be concerned at Flynn’s presence at the summit of the next Lincoln manager market. In stark contrast however, Lincoln fans have reason to be excited about a potential appointment, with the 38-year-old undoubtedly one of the most in-demand managers employed in League's One and Two.

The Lincoln post was only vacated on Monday, but Lincoln chief executive Liam Scully has already revealed that there is “significant momentum” in the club’s search for Cowley’s successor, although it’s not yet known whether the East Midlands side have had any concrete contact with prospective candidates.

However, Scully has stated to the Lincolnshire Live that the League One outfit is keen to appoint someone with “Football League experience” and they don’t consider compensation to be “a barrier to us getting the right candidate,” providing it’s “reasonable and sensible”.

A hint towards a certain Welshman perhaps?

Cowley, eventually, made the leap into the Championship, and Flynn would no doubt be tempted to take a step up his own managerial ladder into League One, especially considering how close he came to securing a place in the division’s dugout last season.

In the meantime, Jamie McCombe and Andy Warrington - assisted by head of football Jez George - will oversee the first team Saturday’s home game against Bristol Rovers.

McCombe is currently the 3/1 second favourite in the betting, ahead of Gareth Ainsworth (7/1) and Roy Keane (14/1), while former Southampton manager Nigel Adkins looks a tasty price at 16/1.

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Laurent Banide
Laurent Banide
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