IT’S nice to be back to winning ways after the tough Christmas fixture list and we now just cross our fingers that the Rodney Parade ground staff (with the help of volunteers) can work their magic again today.
We’re desperate to face Barrow this afternoon and it’ll be a big blow if the weather beats us again. We’re in decent form I think, after drawing with Wrexham and beating Lincoln 4-2 last weekend and it’s encouraging.
We definitely enjoyed the result at Sincil Bank, even if it was not the perfect display. We did drop off a bit in the second half and that isn’t a habit to get into.
We know it’s a spell for us now where there are winnable games and people are looking at us to push on, but it’s not always that simple.
Just look at the Premier League this week, who would’ve expected South-ampton to come back and draw with Chelsea?
Not that it did Nigel Adkins much good, but it goes to show that complacency is a killer for football teams and we can’t afford to let it creep into our game.
We’ve got to make sure we’re fully focused, if we treat Barrow any differently to Wrexham or Luton they’ll turn us over.
It’s not easy, teams are going to come to us and put men behind the ball and, as we’ve seen against Hyde, it can undo you.
Certainly though, the form of our attacking players encourages us that we can keep our good run going.
I said at half-time at Lincoln that if the front three carry on playing like they did in terms of their finishing I don’t care what else they do defensively during a game. They were exceptional.
In the first half you saw we’ve made two great signings in Christian Jolley and Robbie Willmott but Azza (Aaron O’Connor) has been brilliant all season and if I’m honest I’m surprised no-one has put a bid in for him.
His movement is frightening and at the moment he’s playing Championship-level football.
I know that’s a big statement, but I’ve played with strikers in the Champion-ship not as good as him.
I can only go on this season, but the gaffer certainly did the right thing in signing him, he’s a joy to play with.
The signing of Jolley also gives us a real boost at a good time.
It’s great to have Christian back in the squad. He’s a really good lad and he’s well liked among the players.
He’s got a knack of scoring and creating goals and he’s another player who will have clubs looking at him sooner rather than later.
It’s a great coup for us, an important signing at the right age and it’s a good statement of where we want to go.
I’m pretty unconcerned with my own form, though people are telling me that I’ve picked it up.
To my mind it is ok, I’m not too excited about it but I also don’t get too down when I’m not playing so well, or catching the eye.
I’m a team man, I’m getting more recognition playing further forward but now I’m at the age where I’m about the team, not Michael Flynn.
What fans are saying about me, I don’t give it a second thought, whether that’s right or wrong.
There is plenty of talk about my midfield teammate Lee Evans who is being watched by a lot of big clubs.
Lee is one of the best young players I’ve played with, not the very best but right up there and I’m not surprised people are looking at him.
I played with Leighton Baines who was exceptional, he was that good as a youngster that I knew he’d go on and play for England and I’d say he’s probably the best youngster I’ve seen in the game.
I also played with Matt Jarvis when he was a similar age to Lee and again, he was one who you knew would make his move and do it at the top level.
Lee now is at the point where all he can do is work exceptionally hard every day in training and listen to the coaching staff and the older pros at the club.
He needs to keep learning, when you think you’ve cracked it you fall from grace. He must also ignore any speculation about his future. Sometimes moves don’t happen and he’s got to focus fully on his game for Newport. If a big boy comes knocking, that’s merely a bonus.
Finally, I want to talk about our defence. Some are suggesting to me that our problems at the back are because of our style of play being so attacking, it’s not a view I agree with.
I don’t think our defensive troubles are a style of play issue, we’ve gone through the video of goals conceded and in most cases we outnumber the opposition.
Most of our goals conceded come from bad communication, bad individual mistakes or people being in the wrong position and it’s been a collective thing.
We’ve switched off and the goals are mostly avoidable, we’ve seen it on the videos, it was obvious.
A lack of talking in our defence has worried me and it’s something we can’t let slide because talking is the easiest thing to do on a football pitch.
We can’t rely on the attackers so heavily in the future.
It was a bit better against Wrexham and Lincoln but we can still improve.