ewport County continue their unlikely pursuit of the play-offs on Saturday as they welcome Tranmere Rovers to Rodney Parade. Mike Flynn's side will be looking to do a league double over Micky Mellon's side; a rare goal from the recently-retired Fraser Franks was enough to secure victory at Prenton Park in September.
Boss Mike Flynn said ahead of the crunch tie, "It's a tough game against a very good team. Micky has done a very good job; the way he got them out of the Conference and the way they've kicked on this season. They've been very good and apart from Tuesday night, they've been on one of the best runs in the league."
He continued, "We've got to be on our game; it's no different to any other game. If we're on it, home or away, we're a very good team. If we're not, we start sloppy, make silly mistakes, we usually get beat so it's a free hit really because the real pressure is on Tranmere.
County come into this game on the back of a resounding 3-1 away victory at struggling Yeovil Town, the last goal of which was claimed in eye-catching style by Keanu Marsh-Brown. Having played a pivotal role in Guyana's qualification int this year's Gold Cup, he is now looking to be equally key for Mike Flynn in the League Two run-in. Keanu said, ""I’ve been itching to get my first goal. A big part of my game is adding goals and I’ve been dying to score one. It’s been a long time coming and hopefully I can keep going now for the rest of the season."
On squad injuries, Flynn told the press, "We're almost full strength. Podge [Amond] is back in training; he's fit to start. We've got another big game on Tuesday. We've got to take care of this one, try and get the three points and it'll set up a bit of a blockbuster on Tuesday night."
The Exiles will be under no illusions that Saturday will be anything but a tough test of their mettle. Tuesday night saw an impressive run of form come to an abrupt end for the visitors; a 2-0 defeat away at Oldham Athletic followed a string of seven straight victories and an unbeaten run stretching back to February 5th. Furthermore, in striker James Norwood, they boast League Two's leading goalscorer with an impressive 29 goals so far this season.
Yet Flynn went so far as to infer that defeat isn't necessarily the end of their ambitions. He claimed, "If we didn't get the right result on Saturday and then we go and win another three games in a row, it makes it interesting in the last four games because we're right back in it again so there's going to be a lot more twists and turns before the end of the season.
Rovers boss Mellon is also aware of the importance of the run-in. He said of his side's trip to South Wales, "At this stage of the season with six games to go, the games are very emotional and tough, and the value of three points is very raw, so I expect that type of game, a real battle. "The stakes are very, very high and everybody knows what they are fighting for.
On targets for the club, Flynn said, "Personally, I want to get the highest amount of points the club's had in league which is 65; they've previously had 64." He jokingly stated, "They had 63 last year so this year I want 65 so they need ten points from eight games and if they don't get it, they're in all summer!"
He finished on a positive note, "Tomorrow is the 6th of April and the season's still alive; there's not many times in previous years that's happened. We've got four weeks to go; eight games, let's see what we can do."
Prediction: Newport County 1-1 Tranmere Rovers
After somewhat of a hiatus, I will be live-tweeting updates from Rodney Parade tomorrow; tune in to @DanielFrazer7 for updates!