MIKE FLYNN SAYS: It's great to be back in Newport
9:00am Saturday 29th September 2012 in Sport
IT’S been a hectic couple of months since I came home to Newport County and with the team at the top of the table it’s gone better than I could have imagined so far.
I said when I signed in July that I thought we could challenge for promotion this season but I think everyone has been surprised by how well we’ve started.
I’ve been asked to write this column every Saturday to try to give an insight into life behind the scenes at Rodney Parade and let’s hope we can continue our fantastic form throughout the season.
Tuesday’s win at Telford was a crazy game to play in but we were obviously delighted to come away with another three points that keeps us above all our rivals.
The boys were all in high spirits on the bus home and we were checking our phones to see how everyone else had got on.
Despite our great start to the season it’s very tight at the top of the table and we’re only a point clear so we’re not taking anything for granted just yet.
But there is a great team spirit here and with that and the quality we’ve got I’m sure we can stay up at the right end of the table.
The gaffer has already said that he might need to add one or two in January because it’s still a fairly small squad but we’re doing all right so far.
Personally speaking, I haven’t been entirely happy with my own form so far.
I was disappointed not to start the other night but I couldn’t really complain because I know I haven’t been pulling up any trees since I arrived.
I don’t think I’ve been playing too badly and I’ve been doing a lot of work off the ball that sometimes goes unnoticed, but I can definitely improve.
I haven’t had a pre-season at all, which has made it difficult, but I know a lot was expected of me when I came back.
People think just because I played in the Football League for ten years I’m going to dominate in the Conference but this is a tough league.
In many ways I found it easier to play at Championship level than in League Two and I’ve just got to knuckle down and work hard to catch the other guys up in terms of fitness.
Another factor has been my off the field situation. I’ve come back to Newport after 11 years away and I’m not really settled yet.
I’ve been staying with an old mate and I’ve only just got round to finding a place to live.
People underestimate how much it affects us players being unsettled off the pitch.
Having said that it’s been nice to be back in Newport.
The place hasn’t changed a lot since I’ve been away. The riverfront area looks a lot nicer than I remember and there are a lot more shops boarded up as well, but it’s good to be back.
I’ll let the likes of Aaron O’Connor and Lee Evans take the headlines because they deserve it.
Losing Lee to injury is a bit of a blow. He’s been brilliant this season and I know teams will be looking at him. If they’re not they should be.
He’s only just turned 18 but he’s got bags of ability and he’s a really nice lad.
I’ve spoken to him a lot and if he keeps listening and keeps learning he’s got the talent to get to the top.
There’s no reason why he can’t play in the Champion-ship or higher.
I’ve been trying to help him because I think it’s important that us older guys do that. The youngsters know they can talk to me if they need to.
I got advice from people like Matt Jackson when I first went to Wigan and it really benefited me.
With a bit of luck Lee’s got a big future in the game and it’s up to the rest of us midfielders to make sure we don’t miss him too much over the next few weeks.
Today’s match is going to be a real test of our promotion credentials because Grimsby are a big club and they’ve signed some top players.
I know some of the lads like Joe Colback, Scott Neilson and Ross Hannah and they are dangerous. I’m sure they will be up there at the end of the season so it’s important that we take points off them this afternoon.