MANAGER Michael Flynn will be happy to win ugly when Newport County AFC return to Rodney Parade to face Stevenage in League Two tomorrow afternoon.

The Exiles recorded a much-needed victory on the grass of the Bescot Stadium on Wednesday when Joss Labadie struck the winner against Walsall to revive hopes of a promotion push.

They need to back that up in the challenging conditions in Newport, where the brown and bobbly surface has forced a change of style after the expansive approach of the first half of the campaign.

The coronavirus pandemic meant that a planned revamp of the hybrid Rodney Parade pitch was pushed back to this summer from last year.

It's with reluctance that Flynn talks about the surface but there is no getting away from the fact that how they cope on home soil will shape their bid for League One.

"How nobody has been injured on it lately, I don't know," said the manager. "This is nothing to do with the ground staff who work tirelessly to get it in a playable state.

"They work their socks off and I am not having a dig at them and I never will. I see how hard they work and how much organisation and planning the likes of Jon Raymond and Mark Jones put into things.

"It's not a slight on them but the pitch is the worst that I've ever seen it. I don't want this to be about the pitch and we cannot change it, so we need to get that out of our system.

"We have to carry on and try to win games, albeit they won't be as pretty as we have become used to."

Newport County boss Michael Flynn

Newport County boss Michael Flynn

Flynn wants his players to take a leaf out of Forest Green Rovers' book after their promotion rivals won 2-0 at Newport last Sunday.

The Gloucestershire team adopted a no-frills approach in an error-free, professional display.

"Forest Green's game plan, and this surprised me because they are a very good footballing team, was to not attempt to play any football whatsoever," said the manager.

"When it was on to play, they still didn't. They did a fantastic job in that respect because they all stuck to the plan.

"They hit Jamille Matt and fed off scraps. It worked because we made the mistakes and they didn't."

Nicky Maynard on the run. Newport County fared better on the grass in Walsall after the challenging home conditions

Nicky Maynard on the run. Newport County fared better on the grass in Walsall after the challenging home conditions

Dom Telford headed over in the opening stages against Forest Green and the January signing and fellow forward Nicky Maynard also wasted chances in Walsall.

The nature of the pitch means that a killer streak is more important than ever.

"It's so hard to create anything clear-cut," said Flynn. "I want them to be ruthless whether that's from one yard or 30 yards.

"The last four games on this pitch there have only been 11 shots on target from the four opposition teams put together and we have had 13.

"That goes to show that it is very hard to create anything clear-cut on that pitch. When we get the chances, we need to put them away.

"I've spoken to one or two of the players because they know they have had good chances."