BOSS Michael Flynn is well aware that Newport County AFC can draw on some happy memories of past visits to St James Park when they travel to Devon today to take on Exeter City (kick-off 3pm), writes David Williams.

It may still be very early in the new League Two season but the Exiles face the Grecians sitting second in the table, two points behind their hosts.

The situation was very different for Flynn’s men when the teams last met in Exeter on April 8, with County scrambling to avoid relegation and Exeter in the play-off places.

Tom Owen-Evans’ first senior goal gave the visitors a crucial victory that afternoon and, as everyone knows, survival was secured on the final day of the season against Notts County.

Reflecting on the triumph this spring, Flynn said: “The way it happened down there last season was crazy – not many other things could have gone wrong!

“We were stuck on the M5 for nearly three hours, kick-off was delayed by 45 minutes and Cheltenham, who at that point were our closest rivals, were winning 2-0.

“But we never looked like losing that game. It was a very good performance from the lads.

“It goes to show that nothing really fazes these lads. There’s a lot here from last year and the new ones have got the same attitude and commitment – they just get on with the job.

“Some days they’re going to be brilliant and some days they won’t be as good but they’ll always give their all and put some pride in the Newport County shirt.

“And going down to Exeter, who were comfortably in the play-offs, and getting a result and a clean sheet was a big result and one that helped us stay in the division because if we hadn’t won that we would have been down.”

On today’s fixture, he added: “We’ve got a tough game but it’s one I’m really looking forward to.

“It will give us a yardstick to see how much we’ve improved.

“I’m expecting to come up against a very good team. They lost in the final of the play-offs last season and they’ve got a very good manager and very good players.

“It’s going to be a tough challenge but we’ll go there with confidence and hopefully the boys will do the business and we’ll come away top of the league.”

He continued: “Being near the top brings different pressures but I’m confident with the players that I’ve got here that they can handle that.

“And long may it continue that we’re at the right end because I don’t want to be anywhere near where we were last season.

“It’s too early to talk about being at the top. Nothing is won in August or September, or even January.

“We’ll keep going and hopefully get a lot more wins than defeats and we’ll be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.”