Newport County manager Michael Flynn is set to return to Valley Parade this Saturday as his side takes on Bradford City. Flynn played 91 times for Bradford City, scoring ten goals in the process. He returns as manager of his hometown club, Newport.
Michael Flynn Returns to Bradford City
Michael Flynn took the County job in the 2016/2017 season with the club 11 points away from safety. He surprised everyone by steering them out of the relegation zone. It truly was a great escape for the Exiles as they managed to avoid relegation with a win in the final match of the season. Flynn’s first full season in charge led Newport County to an 11th-place finish.
Bradford and Newport last met in the league back in April 1985, ending in a 1-0 win for the Bantams. Both clubs have seen major changes and this historic meeting should be an interesting clash. Newport County are a different beast under Michael Flynn, however, an injury crisis is crippling the club, so much so that Flynn jested that he may need to register to play to cover the injured players. Bradford City have undergone wholesale changes since Flynn’s playing days. With the new-look Bradford team hovering just four points ahead of Newport, it should be an interesting affair.
Newport County Fighting Injury Crisis
Newport County are fresh from beating Brighton & Hove Albion U23’s. With Michael Flynn’s side depleted through injuries, there were starting opportunities that arose for 17-year-olds Dom Jefferies and Joe Woodiwiss. Flynn bemoaned his side’s failure to finish within the 90 minutes; instead his side had to rely on penalties. With around ten players on the injury list, the boss has some tough decisions to make.
Centre-backs Mark O’Brien and Kyle Howkins both missed the Brighton game. Howkins was taken to hospital after suffering a head injury against Maldon & Tiptree in the FA Cup. The defender later posted on Twitter thanking well-wishers after he was released from the hospital. However, Woodiwiss performed well against Brighton U23’s and might have done enough to convince Flynn that he is ready to start.
Newport are performing well this season and are serious competition for the play-off places. Though, with the number of injuries mounting, it might be a tough period for the Exiles.
Bradford Playing Catch-Up With Games in Hand
Overall, Bradford’s season has been positive, although, with fan expectation high, City need to press on to avoid dropping further behind the automatic promotion places. The Bantams have a game in hand over league leaders Swindon Town. with a five-point gap. They suffered a dip against tough battlers Macclesfield Town. The Silkmen have a reputation for being strong defensively. This rang true as they held Bradford to a draw.
Manager Gary Bowyer revealed his frustrations with the game after Ben Richards-Everton gave away a penalty, handing Macclesfield a chance to score.
Bradford City enter the game as slight favourites, however, Newport County should not be underestimated.