MIKE FLYNN SAYS: Life is a pitch for us at the moment
8:12am Saturday 8th February 2014 in Sport
WELL I’ve certainly never known a season like this one.
The players have been keeping score and by our calculations, Newport has had torrential rain on 29 of the last 32 days and you do wonder if it is ever going to end.
Ironically, yesterday was largely a beautiful and sunny winters’ day, but of course, that didn’t do us any good because the damage was already done on the pitch.
It’s absolutely incredible, how much rain we’ve had and we know it doesn’t look good on the club, it doesn’t reflect well on us.
But I suppose you have to look at it that despite having five home games off, we are only a couple of fixtures in arrears compared to the teams around us, the whole of Britain has been suffering with the rain levels.
It’s frustrating and gutting for us as players every time we lose the chance to go out and get three points, but we can’t dwell on it.
And what we certainly can’t or won’t do is criticise the Rodney Parade ground staff.
Myself and all the lads have got to know Mark Jones and his staff pretty well and we know how hard they work, at all hours and in all weathers you’ll see them out there working and working.
But the fact is, at the moment it’s impossible for them. We could’ve had 3,000 volunteers helping to make the pitch playable for last night and it wouldn’t have done any good.
It’s a unique situation and hopefully, soon, the rain will start to help rather than hinder us.
And I honestly believe that it will. It’s not being optimistic or glass half full, but I think the whole situation could work to our advantage.
The fact is, we have 18 games left and 13 of those games are home games.
If we can get ten points on the road, something there or thereabouts, I think we’re right in the mix for promotion.
Let’s be honest, people don’t enjoy coming to Newport at the best of times, we have a passionate crowd, it’s a long journey for most and we can be an imposing side.
Add all that together with a quagmire of a playing surface that we are used to and I think Rodney Parade becomes even more of a fortress.
We might have a lot of games between now and the end of the season, but at least we don’t have a lot of travel.
We are very comfortable at home and have belief we can pick up a lot of points between now and the end of the season.
This week hasn’t felt like a lost week, despite us failing to get any action in the league.
We have played two behind-closed-doors friendlies, one at Bristol Rovers and an XI v XI game at the training ground yesterday with some of the lads from the academy.
The game at Rovers especially, was a really good work out. Players like Max Porter, Ismail Yakubu and Byron Anthony got some valuable game time and Christian Jolley got on the scoresheet, which could really help him and us.
I even got a goal, the boys coming back from 2-0 down to win 3-2.
We took a lot of positives from it.
On Saturday evening myself and six or seven of the squad – and ex-player and friend of the club Ryan Charles – headed to the Motorpoint Arena to watch the Reloaded boxing show.
It says a lot about a group of players when they enjoy socialising together and we all had a smashing time with some brilliant fights on the night.
As a Newport boy myself I’m very good friends with St Joes boxing trainer Tony Borg and I even spent some time in the gym over the summer.
That meant I got to know his best two boxers, Lee Selby and Gary Buckland and I was so pleased to see the pair of them win.
My only complaint is that Argus writers Michael Pearlman and Andrew Penman had better seats that we did!
Finally, I just want to congratulate my friend Garry Monk for getting a shot at the Swansea job and to wish him well in today’s derby game with Cardiff at the Liberty. Talk about a baptism of fire!
Garry is doing the same coaching course as me in Cardiff and he’s a very impressive individual whose presentations and opinions on football always suggest he’s got a very bright mind.
I think it’ll be a draw today, but I’ve got no doubt Garry can do a terrific job for Swansea going forward.