STUART McCall always sensed that his former City captain Michael Flynn would follow him into management.

The pair will share a touchline for the first time this weekend when the Bantams head for Newport.

But first Flynn is hoping to steer the Exiles to Wembley tonight by beating Salford in the semi-finals of the Trophy.

McCall was one of the first to ring and congratulate Flynn when the Newport native kept his side in the league shortly after taking the job in 2017.

And the pair have remained in regular touch since as Flynn has put the South Wales side on the map with some notable FA Cup giant-killing performances. He also steered them to last year’s play-off final.

McCall said: “I’m really pleased for Flynny. I spoke to him since I got the job back here and we’ve always sent each other messages and texts.

“It’s always nice to see your old players doing well in management. It was the same with Hecky (Paul Heckingbottom), another one I brought to Bradford.

“I could see Flynny as a manager when he was here. He had a hunger and an appetite for wanting to get on and get the work done.

“He’s definitely always had the mentality to have a go at it and he's proved that by doing well."

McCall signed Flynn from Huddersfield in 2009, two years after he had tried to make the midfielder one of his first recruits when taking the Valley Parade helm. The Welshman went on to play 104 times for the club and scored 14 goals.

With tonight’s game being shown on Sky, McCall will tune in to keep tabs on Saturday’s opposition – and the state of the notorious Rodney Parade pitch.

He added: “We’ve got to be ready for a battle. You can’t be naïve about it.

“That’s got to come into the thought process.

“On Saturday, the Cambridge pitch was really good but the conditions were terrible. We’ll see what their pitch is like after tonight’s game.

“I look at a lot of managers and how they deal with it. When you have weather and conditions like we've had, you’ve got to have half an eye on it.”

Having missed out on promotion to an extra-time goal from Tranmere, Newport are struggling to repeat last season’s efforts.

Flynn's men are currently down in 16th, 12 points off the top seven but with games in hand. They have scored just 27 goals from 31 matches and have lost three of the last four.

Flynn admits a return to the play-offs is looking unlikely.

“I’ve said to the players, ‘if we put our hands on our hearts, do you think the amount of goals we’ve scored is going to get us into the play-offs?’ The honest answer is no,” he told our sister paper, the South Wales Argus.

“Unless there is a massive turnaround or a drastic change and we win every game 1-0 from now on, it’s going to be difficult.

“We’ll never give up but it is looking tougher and tougher.”