MIKE FLYNN SAYS: We'll prove gaffer was right to turn down Pompey
10:02am Saturday 14th December 2013 in Latest Football
TODAY is a big day for us as we take on the League Two big boys Portsmouth on the south coast.
When the fixtures came out in the summer this was a game that the fans picked out as one of the highlights of the season and it was the same for us players.
It will be great to play at a packed Fratton Park with more than a thousand of our fans helping to create a cracking atmosphere.
As if it wasn’t strange enough for us to be facing the 2008 FA Cup winners as equals it will be even tougher today because of the new manager syndrome.
Pompey will be looking to impress their new boss Richie Barker and everyone will be giving it that little bit extra so we’re going to have to be on top of our game.
We will give it our all as we always do and it won’t change our approach so the Portsmouth boys will be in for a tough game as well.
It’s a big occasion and I’ve played in front of big crowds before so it doesn’t bother me but I think it does bring out the best in the lads.
Our players won’t be fearful of it and I feel this is a game where we can get a win.
Of course if things had turned out differently over the past few weeks our boss Justin Edinburgh could have been sat in the home dugout this afternoon instead of the away one.
We’re all delighted that he’s staying with us. He’s been superb for everyone at this football club and it says a lot for his commitment to us that the gaffer turned down a club like Portsmouth.
It is his old club so it must have been a big pull for him but he’s stated that he wants to finish the job in Newport and that is brilliant news.
It also shows how far we’ve come over the past few years because five years ago they were winning the FA Cup and we were in the Conference South.
Nobody in their right mind would have turned down Pompey to stay with us back then but five years is a long time in football.
If clubs weren’t interested in Justin I’d be scratching my head, to be honest. The job he’s done here is nothing short of amazing and if he can get us up to League One as well I wouldn’t be shocked to see some big Championship clubs coming after him in the summer.
We obviously want to keep hold of him as long as possible but we’re realistic enough to know that if a really big club came in he would be tempted.
I think he got approached last summer as well and he’s turned everything down so far so it shows that he wants to be here and wants to continue the success we’ve enjoyed together.
To do that we need to bounce back after a disappointing week that saw us knocked out of both the FA Cup and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
It is obviously not what we wanted and I think we could have done a lot better at Kidderminster last Saturday.
We created a lot of chances but we need to start taking them now. It’s easy for people to have a go at the defence because we conceded nine goals in the last three games but overall this season we’ve looked quite solid at the back.
Before last week we’d had five clean sheets in a row and hadn’t conceded in something stupid like ten hours of football so they’re doing their job.
And even in the defeat to Peterborough on Tuesday we ran them very close and only conceded the last two goals in injury time.
We need to start banging the goals in and that will help take the pressure off the guys at the back.
The cup defeats weren’t what we wanted obviously but the positive is that we don’t have any more distractions from our main aim now – promotion to League One.
As the old saying goes we’ll be concentrating on the league and if we can pick up where we left off in League Two – a fantastic 3-2 win over our promotion rivals Chetserfield – then we’ll be very happy indeed.
We need to start picking up a bit of momentum now. That is difficult with the injuries still disrupting us but as we’ve shown all season the people who come in have done superbly. Hopefully that continues this afternoon.
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