Saturday afternoon sees us travel to Newport County for the second straight season at the top of the league. So far this season, Newport have beaten Plymouth Argyle as well as drawing with Mansfield Town, Cambridge United and Walsall in the league and beat Gillingham on penalties to set up a home tie with West Ham United in the EFL Cup this coming Tuesday.
Over the summer, the Exiles have signed 11 players over the summer, 8 on permanent deals and 3 on season-long loans, while they have let 4 leave the club. Those arrivals are goalkeeper Tom King, defenders Marvel Ekpiteta, Kyle Howkins, Daniel Leadbitter, Lazar Stojsavljevic, Ryan Haynes, George Nurse and Danny McNamara (the latter 2 on loan deals), midfielder Taylor Maloney (loan) as well as forwards Corey Whitley and Tristian Abrahams.
Looking back in the archives, the two teams have met 40 times with both teams having won 13 apiece with 14 draws. Newport’s biggest win occurred in the very first meeting between the teams in October 1962 where they won 5-1 with Crewe’s biggest win was a 4-0 victory in April 1976. Last season’s games saw the home team won both meetings, Newport by a 1-0 scoreline last August and Crewe winning 3-2 back in January.
Who are the officials for the game?
The officials for this game see Leigh Doughty as the man in the middle with Christopher Husband and Thomas Harty his assistants and Mark Derrien as the fourth official. We have never had Doughty as a referee for a senior game as this is his first season refereeing in the Football League.
I asked Newport supporter Taff from the Amber Army supporters group for his thoughts going into the game.
How would you describe your transfer activity this summer?
Very busy. We only lost 2 of our top players and have not only seemingly replaced them, but we have also strengthened in other areas too.
Which position is the one that you should improve the most from the squad you currently have?
I’d say midfield. We have a strong midfield but I think we need someone who can score from the midfield on a regular basis.
What do you think the team will be for the game?
King, McNamara, Howkins, O’Brien, Haynes, Maloney, Sheehan, Whitley, Amond, Matt, Abrahams
How would you set-up to nullify your team?
Fast wingers, tough midfielders and tall defenders who can jump.
Who is the dangerman for this game?
Josh Sheehan is looking very impressive at the moment. He will create some chances.
What do you think is a realistic aim for County this season?
Playoffs for sure. Not an expectation though. We know we’re capable though.