By Paul Jones
The last time Newport County went to Bolton for a league game they got hit for six, but that is unlikely to happen when they return today.
The last clash was 32 years ago in the old Fourth Division and the thrashing at Burden Park came a week after a 6-1 defeat against Torquay United.
Those were dark days for County and a year later they dropped out of the Football league.
Now, the boot is on the other foot.
Bolton were a Premier League club only eight years ago, but they dropped into League Two this season and haven’t won a competitive game since February 1this year.
That is in stark contrast to County’s excellent start to the season. The 3-1 midweek Carabao Cup win over Championship side Watford earned Flynn’s men a fourth round clash with Newcastle United at Rodney Parade next week and they have picked up four points from their two league outings.
Amongst all the news of Hollywood stars, Newport County will host Newcastle United next week 👇🏼 https://t.co/Zaf9FTSbl5
— Beth Fisher (@BethFisherSport) September 23, 2020
A new bout of cup fever, and the prospect of facing Premiership opposition, shouldn’t be a distraction to the Exiles as they look to maintain their unbeaten start to the league campaign, but Flynn is always one to guard against complacency.
“There is no talk about Newcastle United among the players, that fixture hasn’t been mentioned by them. They are purely focussed on playing at Bolton,” said Flynn.
“The players who are in the team this weekend will be in pole position to push for a place in the side for the cup game next week.
“We had a clean bill of health from the win over Watford and there is real competition for places.”
With fixtures against clubs such Swansea City on the opening day of the season, Watford on Tuesday night, Bolton Wanderers today and Newcastle United next week you might be excused for thinking Newport are playing in the wrong league.
🤩That first goal feeling.
— Newport County AFC (@NewportCounty) September 20, 2020
“We have put in some good performances against teams who are two leagues above us. One of them reached the Championship play-offs a few months ago and the other just came down from the Premier League,” added Flynn.
“That is a credit to the players and the reward is the continuation of our Cup run in bringing a Premier League club to play at Rodney Parade.
“But I’m not getting carried away and the next game is Bolton away.
“They played quite well against Colchester last weekend and could have got something out of the game. I know they will hit some form sooner rather than later – I just hope it isn’t this weekend.
“It’s sad to see what has happened to Bolton. It doesn’t seem that long ago that Sam Allardyce had them playing in Europe.”
Bolton have lost all four games to date this season and are one of four teams anchored to the bottom of the league with no points.
The signing of Swindon striker Eoin Doyle on a free transfer in the summer has given them a threat up front, but with the way County are playing they should be able to pile on the agony for one of the great names of English football.