ANOTHER long journey and tough game on the road awaits Newport County AFC today, but David Pipe insists the players are now in a much better position to deal with such challenges.

And the 33-year-old defender, who took over the captain’s armband on Tuesday night after Joss Labadie’s injury last Saturday, believes boss Michael Flynn has played a big part in that.

The atmosphere around the club has, according to Pipe, changed significantly since Flynn took over from Graham Westley in March.

Not playing on home soil for the first few weeks of the new season is also something that Pipe feels has brought the squad closer together, so a 450-mile round trip to Morecambe today holds no fears.

“Obviously we’ve done very well since the gaffer took over, his record speaks for itself, and with that comes confidence,” said Pipe.

“When we are behind, it doesn’t matter who to, we still believe we can get back in the game, and when we’re ahead we’re confident enough to know that we can see the game out.

“As long as we don’t get carried away with ourselves as a team and individually that stands you in good stead for this weekend and the future.

“It’s a long way to travel to Morecambe but due to the start of the season we’re accustomed to that.

“That travelling has contribu-ted to the bonding and the way the boys are a close-knit group.

“If you spend that much time on a coach together and the boys aren’t ripping each other’s heads off, and the journeys are enjoyable, then that’s a good sign of what we’ve got here.”

As for this afternoon’s League Two encounter with the Shrimps (kick-off 3pm), he added: “They’ve got a lot of old heads who know how to grind out a result, so it might not be a pretty game, but however the game goes we’ve got the ability to adapt to it.

“We’ll have our own game plan and go there with confidence, but not too much confidence.”

Pipe re-joined the Exiles on a permanent basis this summer having come back on loan from Eastleigh in January to help the team beat the drop.

A pro since 2001, Pipe says he still has a few seasons left in him as a player, but he has no intention of following in the footsteps of Flynn when his playing days are over.

“A lot of people have said to me that I’ve got the right temperament after what I’ve been through to be a good manager,” he said. “But it’s never really been my thing. I’m into the whole fitness side of it which I’m fully qualified for already.

“If I can go from being a footballer into that being my future then that would be the path I want to go down.

“That’s the way I’ve always thought about it, my mind has never changed on that side of it, and I’m far from it yet due to the fact I look after myself and I know I’ve got a good few years left in me.”