Newport County AFC will be looking to go top of the League Two table by bettering Lincoln City’s result when they host Yeovil Town on Saturday. The Exiles can secure a fifth successive league victory for the first time since March 2013 at Rodney Parade, whilst the visitors will want to break that record and ascend into the play-off positions.
Here, find all the facts and statistics ahead of this League Two encounter…
How they’ve fared so far in League Two...
Despite having finished in the lower echelons of the League Two table for the past three seasons, the Glovers are currently showing the sort of form that suggests they could have a much better campaign this time around.
Like County, they are unbeaten since the opening day of the season when they suffered a narrow defeat at League Two newcomers Bury FC. Yeovil had been doing extremely well to hold on with nine men following the dismissals of Tom James and ex-Exile Jordan Green, only for the Shakers to finally make their numerical advantage count in stoppage time through Gold Omotayo.
In their opening home match of the season, Yeovil picked up a credible draw with promotion favourites Mansfield Town, although may see it as two points lost after surrendering the lead twice. Diallang Jaiyesimi and Yoann Arquin both scored for the Glovers, but the points were shared after goals from Craig Davies and Matt Preston.
Yeovil’s first league victory came in their third match and could be a contender for result of the season. The Glovers defied all odds when hammering Notts County 4-0 away from home, Alex Fisher grabbing a hat-trick before Arquin came back to haunt his former employers by compounding them to an emphatic defeat.
That ascended them to a season high 4th position in the league table but they quickly dropped down eight places when they drew 0-0 at home with Oldham Athletic.
They swiftly returned to winning ways, however, as they achieved their first home victory of the campaign against Stevenage. First-half goals from Alex Fisher and Sessi D'Almeida clinched the three points for the Glovers – their first home triumph since February.
Yeovil made it back to back victories in their most recent League Two match, as Omari Patrick’s late strike was enough to secure a narrow away victory at Grimsby Town.
Last Saturday, their match with MK Dons was postponed due to international call-ups for the Glovers, meaning they head to Rodney Parade just a point outside of the play-offs but with a game in hand.
After an 11-day break from league and cup competition, Yeovil Town manager Darren Way is expecting to be able to recall some of his injured squad members for the trip to Rodney Parade.
Ahead of their last match in the CheckaTrade Trophy against Exeter City, the Glovers had six members of their first-team squad unavailable, starting with talisman striker Francois Zoko who has been missing for a month with a knee problem.
Goalkeeper Stuart Nelson has yet to play a single minute of action with a calf injury, while midfielder James Bailey is another yet to take to the field this season following a knee injury.
Defender Tom James is the most recent player to have been added to the injury list having last played on 25th August, but he is now out with a hip flexor complaint, whilst midfielder Rhys Browne and defender Shaun Donnellan are recovering from thigh and hamstring problems respectively.
Despite that extensive list of injury absentees, Way confirmed he is expecting to at-least be able to call on three of those players, even if he wouldn’t be pushed on which players those actually were.
He told iFollow Glovers last week: "I'm told by the physio that we should have three players back from injury for the game at Newport, plus the players back from international duty.
"The players have to make sure they use this break wisely. The international break worked well for us last year with the numbers we've got and the injuries we carried, so I'm expecting the same pattern this time around."
Donnellan is likely to be one of those to return after he featured on international duty for the Republic of Ireland U21s, whilst Sessi D’Almeida (Benin) and Enus Mahmutovic (Lumexmbourg) were unused substitutes for their respective nations and go straight back into the Yeovil side that will travel to South Wales.
Last Yeovil league side vs Grimsby Town (4-4-2): Baxter, Mugabi, Sowunmi (C), Warren, Dickinson, Arquin, Pattison, D’Almeida, Green (Olomola 56’), Fisher (Gray 82’), Jaiyesimi (Patrick 66’)
Last Yeovil CheckaTrade Trophy side vs Exeter City (4-4-2): Baxter, Mugabi, Warren, Sowunmi (C), Dickinson, Green (Jaiyesimi 65’), Gray, Santos (Pattison 52’), Patrick, Arquin, Olomola
One to Watch – Alex Fisher
Currently Yeovil Town’s top scorer at this early stage of the season, striker Alex Fisher finally looks like he may be able to settle at a club for a prolonged amount of time.
The much travelled 28-year old can already boast playing for 13 different clubs in five different countries, but he looks to have settled with Darren Way at Yeovil Town.
He has four goals to his name so far this season from six appearances, having scored a hat-trick in the Glovers shock victory at Notts County, before backing that up with a home goal later in the month against Stevenage.
That means he has a total of 10 goals to his name in the colours of Yeovil Town, signing for the club midway through last season and getting goals against Cambridge United, Colchester United, Swindon Town, Notts County and two in the impressive victory at Coventry City.
Starting his career with Oxford United, Fisher scored his first senior goal in January 2008 as part of a comprehensive Conference Premier victory against Altrincham at the Kassam Stadium.
Loan spells followed at Oxford City and Brackley Town as Fisher couldn’t quite hold down regular first-team football with the club, taking the decision to join up with the Glenn Hoddle academy in Spain.
A move to Jerez Industrial soon materialised in the 2010-11 campaign, but a serious jaw injury put a halt to a debut season that included 21 goals, including 17 in the league.
Fisher then moved on to Belgium where he signed for second division side KVK Tienen, before further spells in the same country with KRC Mechelen and KSK Heist.
His travelling continued as he found his way to Monza in Italy for the final few months of the 2013/14 season, before returning to England for his first taste of life in the Football League with Mansfield Town.
He didn’t quite hit the ground running, scoring twice in 16 appearances, and couldn’t do much better at Torquay United when netting five goals in 23 appearances.
After cancelling his contract by mutual consent with the Conference Premier outfit, Fisher moved to yet another country, turning out for Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Motherwell in Scotland, before moving to Yeovil in January of this year.
Manager – Darren Way
Since taking the reigns at a club he featured for prominently during his playing days, Darren Way has gradually been restoring Yeovil Town to their former glory days and has hit the ground running with some impressive results already this campaign.
In what is his first managerial position, Way was handed the job on 31st December 2015 after a short spell as caretaker manager - and with the club in disarray at the bottom of the Football League.
Way’s first game in permanent charge of the Glovers was a very notable one, a 1-0 victory over relegation rivals York City coming at just the right time as it was Yeovil’s first league victory for 17 matches.
Yeovil’s form picked up from there and Way was able to guide them quite comfortably to safety in 19th position, fourteen points clear of York and Dagenham & Redbridge in the drop-zone.
Way’s first full season in charge was certainly a topsy-turvy one. The Glovers were bottom in September, in the play-offs before Christmas after an improved run of results, before only winning three of their final 27 matches. That rollercoaster of emotion eventually saw Yeovil finish in 20th position.
Another 19th position came last season as the Glovers matched County in reaching the Fourth Round of the Emirates FA Cup, losing to eventual runners up Manchester United, but their early form this time around suggests Way could be in for a better campaign this time around.
Looking specifically at meetings with County, Way actually celebrated a big milestone with Yeovil Town when he came to Rodney Parade last season. That was his 100th game in charge of the Glovers, but County were in no mood for a party as they secured a 2-0 home victory.
Including that game, Way has managed against the Exiles on five previous occasions. He has secured two victories – both of which came in 1-0 victories at Huish Park – and also suffered three defeats.
Meetings between the two clubs in the 2017/18 campaign
Newport County AFC were only able to amass six points against five opponents in League Two last season, and Yeovil Town were one of those teams that County beat both home and away.
The maximum haul starts with the first meeting between the two sides on 7th October 2017 and in truth, a 2-0 scoreline for the Exiles could have been so much more had it not been for the goalkeeping heroics of Artur Krysiak.
After controlling the entirety of first-half proceedings, County finally got their just rewards when Padraig Amond headed home from six yards in stoppage time to finally breach the resistance of Yeovil.
Most of County’s chances were falling the way of Joss Labadie at Rodney Parade – the captain had an attempt ruled out for offside and seen a header crash back off the crossbar – before finally getting his goal on 55 minutes when connecting to a Matty Dolan corner-kick.
Victory meant County made their best start to a Football League season since 1982 having amassed 21 points from their opening 12 league fixtures – can they move one step towards beating that this time around by getting another three points on Saturday?
In the reverse fixture at Huish Park on 10th March 2018, County secured their first victory in 10 matches from all competitions with another 2-0 success over the Glovers.
After a somewhat uninspiring opening 45 minutes, County broke the deadlock with their opening opportunity as Josh Sheehan timed his run to perfection to guide a Ben White cross into the far corner from 10 yards.
That was his first goal in County colours for 420 days and he was again involved as the Exiles secured all three points in stoppage time, launching the counter-attack that saw Paul Hayes finish well from inside the area.
Referee: Peter Wright
Assistant Referee 1: Joe Clark
Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Leach
Fourth Official: Daniel Lamport
For the fourth time this season, Newport County AFC will be officiated by one of the 12 referees promoted to the Football League for this campaign.
Peter Wright has been the man in the middle for five games so far in his debut season – four of which have come in League Two – and has given out a total of 15 yellows and three reds between those matches.
Just the one yellow card was brandished in his first ever Football League match, Romain Vincelot the offender as Stevenage secured a credible 3-1 away victory at Crawley Town on 11th August.
Wright brandished a season high six yellows as Carlisle United took all three points at Cheltenham Town the following week, Richie Bennett getting the match winner at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.
Since then, Wright has produced a red card in each of his last three matches, starting with the dismissal of Paul Dixon in Grimsby Town’s 1-1 draw at MK Dons.
New manager Harry Kewell was watching from the stands as Dan Jones was given a straight red card during Notts County’s 3-1 home defeat to Forest Green Rovers, the visitors certainly showing they could cope without Christian Doidge with a composed victory at Meadow Lane.
Wright refereed his most recent game on Tuesday night during Leicester City U21s tie with Fleetwood Town, sending off Cian Bolger as the academy side won the CheckaTrade Tophy tie 7-6 on penalties.
All that follows on from the two seasons Wright spent officiating in the National League. He gave out 70 yellows and four reds from 26 games last season, while 59 yellows and one red were brandished in the 2016/17 campaign from just 17 matches.
Other League Two fixtures that day (All 3pm kick-offs)
Carlisle United vs Tranmere Rovers
Cheltenham Town vs Crewe Alexandra
Colchester United vs Cambridge United
Crawley Town vs Morecambe
Grimsby Town vs Oldham Athletic
Macclesfield Town vs Lincoln City
Mansfield Town vs Exeter City
MK Dons vs Forest Green Rovers
Notts County vs Stevenage
Port Vale vs Northampton Town
Swindon Town vs Bury FC
Can’t make the match?
Don’t forget – if you reside outside of the UK, you can watch the game live by subscribing to County’s iFollow service. Commentary by Charlie Brown and Richard Shepherd can also be found at the Match Centre from 2.45pm.
An on-the-whistle match report of this match will be provided on the club website upon the end of the game. Michael Flynn’s post-match analysis will appear on the website the day after the game, while you can watch all of Flynn’s post-match press conference as-well as two County players by subscribing to #iFollowExiles.