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Andy Phillips looks ahead to Saturday's trip to Newport County.

22 September 2017

Michael White
Russell Slade

Town head to Newport County for a tough looking fixture on Saturday (3pm), but will be confident of getting something at Rodney Parade after their recent run of form.

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The victory over Yeovil Town last Saturday meant that the Mariners have won three of their last four games and they will be looking to continue that against a side that have started the season much better than many expected.

Rose and Amond could play against former clubs

Mitch Rose could be in contention for a return against the side he joined Town from last campaign after missing the Yeovil game with a hamstring injury. The 23-year-old midfielder will be eager to play after helping guide the Exiles to safety last campaign.

Zak Mills is likely to remain out with a hamstring problem of his own after missing training, whilst Sean McAllister, Jamey Osborne, Akwasi Asante and Chris Clements will miss out, but the latter two are making good progress after coming through 90 minutes in the reserve game against Notts County in mid-week.

Newport could welcome back defenders Joss Labadie and Mark O'Brien for the game after missing the last two games through injury, which means that experienced striker Marlon Jackson is the only man to miss out for the Exiles with a longer term problem he suffered in pre-season.

Former Town striker Padraig Amond will start against his former club in what is one of the big selling points of the game. 

Newport unbeaten at home

Newport had a good start to the season and won five of their eight league games so far under new boss Mike Flynn, with four of those wins coming at home.

The Exiles are yet to be beaten at their Rodney Parade ground, so it will prove a difficult test for the Mariners. One thing that has been a problem in the past has been the pitch at the stadium, but the side played their first three games away from home in order to complete an investment into a new surface, which should make for some better football for both sides.

Manager Mike Flynn took over in March 2017 to replace Graham Westley. Having spent three separate spells at Newport as a player and spending three years in charge of their academy, this was his first senior management job and he has done a great job so far. He led to the Exiles to safety after being 11 points adrift when he took over and will be looking to keep that momentum going this campaign.

His side were beaten 2-1 at Morecambe last weekend and Flynn was critical of the performance his players put in, but says they have reacted well and will no doubt be looking for a response against the Mariners.

Four points for Town last season

The Mariners picked up a win and a draw against the Exiles last campaign, in what proved to be two very difficult fixtures.

The first of those came in September 2016 when it took an 88th minute penalty from Omar Bogle for Town to come away from Blundell Park with all three points. Both sides met again in the reverse fixture in February, which was a drab 0-0 draw for the most part.

The most memorable clash between the two sides was the 2012-13 National League play-off semi final, where Newport came away with two 1-0 wins and went on to win promotion to the EFL, so that will always stick in the mind for Town fans.

Managers in summary  

Russell Slade: ''A tricky game, a strong side at home. Under the new manager there, they seem to have made progress and improved. He’s got a good team around him. Hhe’s got the experience of Lennie Lawrence around him and Wayne Hatswell as well so he’s got good people around him, and they look like they’ve recruited well. They don’t look like they’re going to suffer the problems that they’ve had in previous years where it’s been a bit of a fight for them. It’s going to be a difficult game for us, but it’s one that we need to stay in – a game we need to manage again and get some points from.”

Mike Flynn: ''It’s going to be a tough game on Saturday. They have good players, are a strong team and have a manager who is very experienced so it’s going to be a tough challenge. We have to be up for a battle against them but most importantly we have to play our own game and stick to our strengths because if we do that then we will create a lot of chances and hopefully score a lot of them as well.”

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