Michael Flynn will get warm welcome on Newport County return, says James Rowberry

Michael Flynn led Newport County to League Two play-off finals in 2019 and 2021

Newport County boss James Rowberry expects Michael Flynn to receive a warm welcome when he returns to Rodney Parade for Saturday's League Two encounter with Walsall.

Saddlers boss Flynn faces his home-city club for the first time since stepping down as Newport manager last October.

Rowberry says Exiles supporters will give Flynn the recognition his exploits at the club deserve.

"The fans, I am sure, will give him a warm welcome and so will I," he said.

"Then it is about a game of football and that is the most important thing for us. There won't be mixed reactions, he will get the reception he deserves, for sure."

Rowberry, who succeeded Flynn, says his predecessor did a "terrific job" during almost five years in charge at Rodney Parade.

"For me it was left in a good position where I could move forward in a direction which I thought was good for the football club," Rowberry added.

Rowberry says it will be "strange" to see Wayne Hatswell - his long-time friend and some-time assistant before he left to rejoin Flynn at Walsall - in the opposite dugout.

"I spoke to him last week and we said we won't speak this week until after the game, and then we will have a beer whatever happens," Rowberry said.

Flynn had three playing spells with Newport before masterminding a famous escape from the threat of League Two relegation in 2016.

In what was his first managerial job, Flynn then guided Newport to two play-off finals and headline-grabbing FA Cup runs which generated finances that helped the club through the pandemic.

Pill-born Flynn, who took over at Walsall in February and saw his side start the season with a 4-0 win over Hartlepool United last Saturday, is looking forward to the occasion.

"I am Newport born and bred, it will be nice to see some old faces, the likes of Nigel Stephenson (general manager), Norman Parselle (community development officer) and the players," Flynn said.

"But we are going there to get three points. I am a professional, I have moved on, they have moved on. It will be good to hear from the supporters whether it's a good reception or not. But its not about myself and Wayne, it's about doing a professional job and trying to get the win.

"We left on good terms, it was my first managerial job and we had some fantastic achievements. But as with life, it moves on. I wish Newport nothing but good luck - after the weekend."

Rowberry, who will again be without former Walsall defender James Clarke (hip), hopes to add two signings to his squad next week.

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