NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn is back from an extended summer break with a renewed sense of determination.

Although he says that his motivation to do his city proud has always been at the highest level.

Following a opening victory against a Swansea City side who narrowly missed out on promotion to the top flight - something Flynn regards as "outstanding" - the Exiles boss spoke of how lockdown had affected his side.

"It’s very uncertain times," he said.

"People have worried about their jobs, worried about their health.

"It’s been tough but we, I say ‘we’, the lads are quite fortunate they’re young and fit."

However, Flynn was quick to point out that some people had been facing far greater challenges.

"You look at the other end of the spectrum where you have people putting their lives at risk to do well for the nation," he said.

"The NHS, the frontline workers and the key workers, they’ve kept the country going."


Despite the uncertainty, he said that he had been grateful for an opportunity to spend an extended amount of time with loved ones.

"I managed to get a lot of quality time with my young children," he said.

"It gave me the chance to reflect and improve.

"Let’s not lose sight of what’s important here – the club is in safe hands and everybody has come through healthy.

"Those are the important things."

Asked whether the time off had done anything to strengthen his desire to make his city proud, Flynn said that he was as devoted as ever to make that a reality.

"I always want to do well for this club, the city and also myself, my staff and the players.," he said.

It certainly seems as though his County side have started on their way to doing just that with another cup scalp secured.

"It was an unbelievable performance, the boys played above and beyond against a very good Championship team," he said.

"They’ve set the benchmark now."

The Exiles' performance against Swansea City made it plain that none of the time away from competitive football had been wasted.

While the Premier League and Championship sides returned to action some time before Newport County and their fellow League 2 sides, Flynn said that he wouldn't have had it otherwise.

"I know it sounds a bit strange, but I wasn’t envious," he said.

"You have to look at the bigger picture, we couldn’t afford to carry on.

"The testing, matches behind closed doors – it would have been an extra couple of hundred thousand pounds to carry on.

"Whether the play-off places would have been like that at the end of the season, who knows, but it was done in the fairest way possible."

He gave his side credit for the way they had worked throughout lockdown to ensure fitness come the start of the new season.

"You could see our fitness levels on Saturday, they were very good," he said.

"They’ve worked hard.

"They’ve all beat their times from previous years in pre-season."

As well as physical fitness, the lockdown also gave the opportunity for competition via social media.

County players were challenging each other to register the fastest times on workout apps such as Strava, and manager Flynn is never one to be too far from the action.

"It even got to the point where I tried to compete with one or two of them to see how far off I was," he said.

"I was a mile off."