With Newport County AFC out of action after EFL fixtures were suspended until at least April 3 due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’re dipping into the Argus archives to relive the club’s miraculous Great Escape from relegation three years on. Follow the action day-by-day as Michael Flynn’s men battle to beat the drop against all the odds…

First published on Friday, March 17, 2017

NEWPORT County AFC return to Rodney Parade tomorrow desperate to put on a show for their home fans after successive wins on the road.

Caretaker manager Michael Flynn has inspired his side to victories at Crewe Alexandra and Morecambe in the past week.

And County will be aiming to continue their revival and further boost their League Two survival hopes when they welcome play-off chasing Blackpool to Newport tomorrow afternoon.

It will be the Exiles’ first home since the 4-0 humbling at the hands of relegation rivals Leyton Orient on March 4 – a defeat that led to the sacking of manager Graham Westley.

Under Westley and his predecessor Warren Feeney, County have won only two league matches at home all season.

But Ryan Bird, who scored the winner from the penalty spot at Morecambe on Tuesday night, is confident that they can beat Blackpool.

“We’re bang up for it,” said the striker. “We’re playing well and we’re confident again.

“Everyone around the place is buzzing and if we play as well as we did on Tuesday we’ll win again.

“The Leyton Orient game is in the past now – we’ve moved on.

“And we’ll show the fans at Rodney Parade a performance like we did in midweek.”

South Wales Argus:

Bird, who signed from Eastleigh in January, helped Hartlepool United to escape relegation in 2015 and he’s convinced that County can also survive.

Flynn’s men are off the bottom of the table after the win at the Globe Arena and are now seven points from safety with a game in hand – at home to Luton Town this coming Tuesday.

“We can definitely get out of this,” he said. “When I came here my goal was to help Newport stay in the League and we can do it.

“We’ve shown that. The last two performances have been fantastic and we can beat anyone in this league if we perform like that.

“Getting off the bottom is a massive lift for us,” he added.

“We’re not looking at it in terms of points [needed]. We just take every game as it comes and if we keep winning every game that’s in front of us, we’ll be flying.

“And if we play like that, we can definitely beat any team in this league.”

Bird says Flynn has given the squad a lift at a crucial stage of the season, allowing them to play with more freedom.

“We had the belief anyway, I think,” said the 29-year-old.

“It’s just that the gaffer has given us the confidence to go out and play, express ourselves and enjoy it – that’s the main thing.

“You’ve got to enjoy it and we’re really expressing ourselves.

“We’re playing with a smile on our faces now.”

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