By Rob Black
Joss Labadie has pledged to give his boss the perfect 40th birthday gift by getting Newport County back on the winning trail when they host Tranmere Rovers at Rodney Parade today.
Michael Flynn’s men lost their unbeaten record at Cambridge last weekend, and top spot in League Two into the bargain, and Labadie is determined to make amends for that 2-1 defeat back on home turf.
“Last week was disappointing and we felt we should have got something out of the game. We need to rectify things against Tranmere,” said Labadie.
“Getting the three points would be the perfect birthday gift for the boss – and then maybe we could give him the bumps after the game.
“He has assembled a great squad this season and there is real depth to it. We’ve got a good blend of youth and experience and nobody’s position in the side is safe.
“That’s a good thing and I’ve been left out of the side a couple of times and had Padraig Amond, our top scorer for the last couple of seasons, alongside me.”
Tranmere were the team that wrecked Flynn’s dream of taking his side up to League One when they won the 2018 play-off final in extra time at Wembley.
They have since come back down to League Two and were struck by injury and virus problems last week that robbed them of 10 players.
Flynn has added Blackpool’s versatile Irishman, Jamie Devitt, to his squad on a loan deal that will see him stay at Rodney Parade until 17 January, 2021.
The experienced attacking midfielder has 265 appearances in League Two to his name and is a former Republic of Ireland Under 21 cap.
Flynn said: “Jamie knows what it takes to get out of this division after his promotion with Chesterfield. I played with him during our time together at Bradford, so I know all about his qualities on and off the pitch.
“He’s got a good goal-scoring record at this level and his experience will be hugely beneficial to this team. We’ve got a good mix of experienced and young players and I hope Jamie can help us get to where we want to be.”
With new striker Ryan Taylor and now Wales Under 21 cap Lewis Collins on the long-term injury list, Flynn was looking for someone who can fit into his side in a number of positions and Devitt fitted the bill perfectly.
Now all the manager wants is three points from his side so he can go home and enjoy his birthday with his family.
“My birthday doesn’t matter, I just want the three points. I never get too caried away when we win or lose, but I expect a reaction from my players after last week’s result,” added Flynn.