Mike Flynn insists his Newport County team can shake off their dreadful League Two form to produce another mighty FA Cup shock tonight.
The County manager has despaired over his team’s recent results away from the glamour of the knockout tournament.
In their last nine League games, the side that bundled Premier League Leicester City out of the third round and host Middlesbrough at Rodney Parade in a reply this evening, have won just once.
It’s a run of failure that has seen them fall down the table to 14th – 10 places off the play-offs.
But all that will be momentarily forgotten by fans if Flynn’s team can beat Tony Pulis’s Boro and reach the fifth round for the first time in 70 years.
“We are a match for anyone when we play to our potential and we want to give our fans another special night out,” said Flynn.
“I’m just hoping we do ourselves proud and get a positive result because it would be huge for the club.
“The FA Cup has been massive for us and given us a massive financial boost. Winning this game could be worth up to seven figures for us, what with the prize money, extra money for going further than any League Two club, the next game being on TV and another sell-out.”.
County’s latest League setback was at Grimsby at the weekend where they were beaten 3-0. Meanwhile, Boro’s Newport-born manager Pulis was enjoying a 3-2 away win at Championship promotion rivals
“I hope Tony is thinking about Saturday and their big clash with Leeds United, but I’m sure he will bring a squad that he feels can beat us. And they should beat us because they are a good team,” added Flynn.
Win tonight and County will add £180,000 prize money to the £225,000 they have already banked and they would also qualify on their own for the £250,000 on offer to the League Two club that goes the furthest in the competition.
But Flynn was fuming after another away defeat at Grimsby and is prepared to rush goalkeeper Joe Day back into the side after he missed the last two games because his wife is expecting twins.
“Joe is back in training today and he’s available no matter what. I am going to put my marker in the sand.
“Something will happen this week, I’m sure, and let’s just hope it’s not on Tuesday. Fingers crossed we get a good win and the twins come Wednesday morning.
“It was a little bit worrying the other week when Joe wasn’t available, because it wasn’t what they had planned. It was unexpected and they had no family over, and family is the most important thing.
“But they have family around now and it’s a home game. Could he miss the birth? It depends how long she can hold on for, but I’m sure Lizzie won’t let that happen.”
Flynn is also refusing to let any thoughts of pitting his skills against Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola creep into his thinking ahead of the replay.
At stake for the winners is a home tie against the Premier League champions and Flynn reckons that can be put on the backburner for now.
“It will be an exciting moment if the impossible becomes possible, but I’m not even thinking about Man City one little bit because we’ve got to play against a top, top Championship team first.
“I’ve got too much respect for Tony Pulis, and too much respect for Middlesbrough FC, to do that. And I’m not an idiot.
“You saw what Man City did to Arsenal on Sunday, some of the goals were unbelievable. If it was away it wouldn’t be an incentive, let’s get that straight.
“I texted Mikel Arteta when the draw came out and I said, ‘Thank God if we do get through it’s not at your place because I would have been ill.’
“We were on the same Pro-Licence coaching course a few years ago and we’ve stayed in touch. He didn’t even watch the draw because he’s more concerned about winning the Champions League and the Premier League.
“This could end up like ‘Bull’s Eye’ – Bully’s Special prize, look what you could have won. If you get carried away you’ll see the boat floating off and you are left with the rubber dingy.”