NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn is certain that his side can enjoy a positive end to the season but he’s ready to deal with the criticism if their recent struggles continue.

Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Mansfield Town saw County slip to 16th in League Two, 12 points below seventh-placed Colchester United with three games in hand.

Flynn’s men have taken just 14 points from the last 54 available in the league but their progress in the Trophy has been a ray of light amongst the gloom.

And he’s hoping for a big morale-boost tomorrow night when victory over Salford City at Rodney Parade would seal a place in the Wembley final on April 5.

“Being one game from Wembley puts more expectation on it,” said the Exiles boss. “We’ve had a couple of losses in the league and we want to get back to winning ways.

“And there’s no better way to do it than by getting another trip to Wembley.”

Flynn led County to the League Two play-off final last season and his side also earned an FA Cup replay against Tottenham Hotspur at England’s national stadium in 2018.

“Leading out your hometown club as a manager at Wembley, there’s obviously a huge amount of pride and excitement,” he said.

“There was obviously disappointment at the end, but it was a special occasion. Hopefully we can get another one. It’ll be a good day out.

“I’ll never be blasé about it. You’ve got to cherish those moments, whether they’re successful or not.

“It’s a huge achievement for a club like Newport County AFC to go and play at Wembley and we want to make sure we go and do it again,” he added.

South Wales Argus:

“It’s a chance to have another special day out and it’s a chance to win a trophy as well.

“Us getting this far is a big achievement. It’s the furthest we’ve ever been in this competition, but I want to go one further.

“And if you get to the final, it’s a 50-50 chance.

“But before that, we’ve got a very tough game against Salford. I’ll think about Wembley afterwards.”

Asked for a message to the fans after recent disappointments, Flynn said: “I know there’s a little bit of frustration going around at the moment but look at the bigger picture.

“I think we’re almost identical to where we were last season at this stage.

“What we were able to do last season is keep a more settled team, especially from the beginning of February onwards.

“We’ve had a lot of injuries this season, but if we can get back to a settled team then I’m sure we’ll win more than we lose. I’ve got a positive mindset. We’re going to turn the corner

This time last year, County were 15th with 43 points from 31 games – eight points off the play-off places with a game in hand. They eventually finished seventh after a final day draw at Morecambe (above).

“If we beat Salford and [Bradford City] on Saturday, the whole world of Newport County is rosy,” added Flynn.

“But there’s no middle ground being a Newport County fan, it’s either doom and gloom or ‘ecstaticness’.

“Let’s try to enjoy the moment. If we get to Wembley, it’s an outstanding achievement.

“If we don’t and we lose on Saturday, it will be doom and gloom. But I’ve got big shoulders and I can deal with that.”

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