Newport boss warns Brighton over “awful” FA Cup pitch 24 hours after rugby match

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Newport boss Mike Flynn has warned Premier League Brighton to prepare for an “awful” pitch tonight.

The County chief even revealed he has banned his League Two players from back-passes as it is so uneven.

Newport's Rodney Parade ground hosted a rugby match on Saturday night when Dragons lost to Ospreys in a Guinness PRO14 Welsh derby clash.

It was just over 24 hours before Newport's televised FA Cup third round tie with Graham Potter's Seagulls.

The hosts have got a heated dome on the pitch to protect it from the frost but Flynn still admits the visitors will be in for a rude awakening.

Flynn,40, said: “It will be bobbly especially because of the game on Saturday.

Brighton's Ben White thrived on loan at Newport in the past and returns today
(Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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“It could be awful – it depends how cut up the pitch gets.

“But the groundstaff have worked exceptionally hard and will try and have it flat.

“But any back-pass to the goalkeeper – keep it out of the width of our goal.

“Brighton's pitch is not bad so I hope this is an eye-opener to them.

“I hope they walk through the gates of Rodney Parade and think they can't wait to get out.

“We have to use things to our advantage.”

Newport are riding high in second in League Two after a very promising start to the season.

They also boast an impressive pedigree in the FA Cup after previously knocking out Leicester and Middlesbrough in 2019 and Leeds in 2018 at home before losing away at Spurs in a replay.

Newport nearly knocked out Spurs under Mauricio Pochettino previously
(Image: Action Images via Reuters)

Flynn, in charge since 2017, admits the financial boost from those heroics has helped keep the Welsh club alive.

“I think we would be struggling to still be here if it wasn't for the FA Cup,” he said.

“It has kept the club going, it is as simple as that.

“We were heavily in debt, close to £700,000, and it wasn't until the following season when we have played Tottenham and Leeds that we were able to clear those debts.

“Since then we have been able to put money in the bank and build on it.

“It is something I will always be proud of.

“The FA Cup has been our saving grace and is part of the reason why it is the best competition in the world.

“I loved watching it growing up and will continue watching until the day I pop my clogs.”

Sunday's game sees the return of Brighton's highly-rated star Ben White,23, who caught the eye on loan at County in 2017/18 when he played 51 games.

Flynn said: “He is the best loan the club have ever had.

“He will go on to play for England.

“He is an exceptional lad and I look forward to seeing him if he comes down.

“When you have a young professional with the attitude and ability he has, then sky is the limit.”

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