Ahead of Saturday's home match with Newport County, we caught up with Andrew Penman of the South Wales Argus to talk all things Exiles...
- How would you sum up Newport’s season so far?
"After reaching the play-off final last May, expectations were high for this season and it started really well for Michael Flynn’s men. They picked up 26 points from the first 13 games and were third in the table in mid-October. The subsequent slide down the table has been a major disappointment and the manager admitted that he was fighting to hold on to his job after the recent 5-0 hammering at Oldham Athletic."
- Under Michael Flynn, Newport have been perennial play-off chasers, why do you think the challenge appears to be falling short this season?
"I wouldn’t say County have been ‘perennial play-off chasers’ over the last three years. Flynn saved the club from almost-certain relegation in 2017 and secured a mid-table finish in 2018. And they arguably overachieved last season, in terms of budget, but there was the expectation that they would be fighting for promotion again this season. There are a number of factors – losing key men like Joe Day and Dan Butler last summer was a blow and the sheer number of injuries sustained this season has clearly had an effect. A lack of goals has also been a major problem all season and the away form has simply not been good enough to sustain a promotion bid."
- How has Dale Gorman settled into life in South Wales?
"Gorman’s January arrival on loan from Leyton Orient has been a bright spot in a bleak few months for the Exiles. The midfielder has impressed the fans with his passing ability and also scored a superb winner against Morecambe last weekend. He is one player who Flynn is likely to want to keep for next season as his contract with Orient runs out this summer."
- Newport appear to have struggled away from home in-particular. Are they clearly a different team on the road?
"County suffered a sixth successive away defeat in League Two and their 10th in the last 11 on the road in the league as they went down 2-0 at Carlisle United on Tuesday night. The Exiles have only won three away league matches all season – at Forest Green Rovers, Swindon Town and Scunthorpe United – and claimed just 12 points from a possible 51 away from home, compared to 36 from 57 at Rodney Parade. With the Rodney Parade playing surface being so poor over the winter months, Flynn’s team do look to play a bit more football away from home but they are low on confidence at the moment and particularly vulnerable on the road."
- What is your score prediction for Saturday?
"A 1-0 away win."