By Paul Jones
Mike Flynn has told his Newport County team there are no medals for those who stumble at the final hurdle.
Flynn’s promotion-chasers play their final match of the season today with their League Two play-off fate very much in their own hands.
The Exiles travel to face already-relegated Southend United knowing a point will seal them a place in the end-of-campaign shoot-out.
Even a defeat could be enough for County to stay in the hunt for promotion via Wembley if other results go their way, but Flynn wants his team to do the business themselves.
“It’s another game we need to get a result in and I’m expecting another tough game. Hopefully we can get the right result,” he said.
“Southend will want to finish on a high and I know Phil Brown well. We are doing a diploma together and I’ve come across him many times in football.
“He’s a very knowledgeable and proud man who is still willing to learn. It’s going to be a tough game and a tough afternoon.
Newport County thread! A big day, and there are some permutations. I’ll start with the worst case and then get more positive. Newport need to equal or better Exeter’s result. If Exeter don’t win Newport are in the playoffs. If Exeter do win and Newport lose it gets complicated!
— Coleman Had A Dream – Gêm Y Wlad (@Colemans_Dream) May 8, 2021
“We’ve got to make sure we are right at it as well as sticking to what we have been doing all season.
“I have a fantastic group of players who don’t get too up or down which is a great trait to have.
“Hopefully, we can get a positive result. You don’t always get what you deserve in life, let alone football. It has a habit of kicking you, but if we get into the play-offs, it will be a fantastic season.
“At the start of the season my remit was to keep the team in the league. We’ve done that easily. This season we have had a more competitive budget, but money doesn’t guarantee you success.”
County have had a fine season as Flynn rightly acknowledges, but the men from Rodney Parade aren’t done yet. They still have a very realistic chance of promotion to League One.
“If it’s close, I’d be a fool not to be looking at other results, but I won’t in the first half,” Flynn said.
— Newport County AFC (@NewportCounty) May 8, 2021
“You have to keep your options open. So much can change in the second half, but I will be concentrating on us. I’d have bitten your hand off for this position at the start of the season.
“I’m not bothered about where we finish as long as it’s in the top seven. I will never go into any game not trying to win.
“Football is a brutal industry at times, but it can be so rewarding. I’m extremely proud of the fantastic group of players I’m working with. No crowds does take the pressure situation off it.
“There won’t be thousands of fans so we have to get on with it.”