Davies relishing old boys reunion
COUNTY V MERTHYR (Tonight, KO 7.45)
MIKE Flynn won’t be the only returning hero when Newport County AFC host Merthyr Town at Rodney Parade tonight.
The midfielder, who last played for the club in the 2000/01 season, is expected to make his second Exiles debut tonight having finally sealed his return to Newport yesterday.
And, while the current County squad will be all new to Flynn, he will see plenty of familiar faces in the opposition line-up.
Merthyr player/manager Garry Shephard was a teammate at Spytty Park and his side is packed full of ex-County players.
Ryan Dorrian and Andrew Thomas also played alongside Flynn and Kris Leek, Gary Colborne, Ryan Newman and Joe Leahy will all face their old club.
But the chief attraction for County fans in the Merthyr team will be the chance to watch Nathan Davies play.
The 30-year-old midfielder known as ‘Mr Newport County’ played almost 400 games for the club between 1998 and 2010.
He was released by then manager Dean Holdsworth at the end of the promotion-winning 2009-10 season after struggling to overcome a persistent ankle injury.
But having joined the Martyrs from Cirencester this summer he’s delighted to be facing the team he loves.
“I’m fit and I’m looking forward to it,” said Davies.
“It’ll be a bit strange playing against County but there’s a lot of us at Merthyr.
“Andrew Thomas was the first one who texted me to say the match had been arranged and we’ve been having a lot of banter about it with the gaffer (Garry Shephard) and Kris Leek.
“I still go to as many matches as I can and, even though the team has changed completely since I was there, it will be good to see Flynny and a few old faces in the crowd and behind the scenes.
“Hopefully I’ll get a good reception even if I am playing against County!”
Davies believes County are in for an exciting season at their new home.
“They’ve signed a lot of good players this summer and got a great result the other night against Bristol Rovers so it could be a tough night for us,” he said.
“I think the move to Rodney Parade is great for County because it’s right in the heart of the city and all the fans I’ve spoken to are very excited.
“Hopefully this season will be a big improvement on last year, which was a bit of a nightmare apart from Wembley.
“That was a great day, apart from the result, and the fans deserved it.
“I went down with 10 friends and it was incredible to see County running out at Wembley.
“A part of me did think ‘what could have been?’ if I’d still been there but I was pleased for all the lads who got to play.”
l Tickets for tonight’s match are just £6 (£5 concessions) and children under-16 get in free.