After safely navigating tricky opposition Met Police FC in the First Round of the Emirates FA Cup, Newport County AFC proved they have all the attributes to embark on a cup run similar to last season, according to Exiles defender Fraser Franks.
Having missed the last three games through suspension, Franks slotted back in to the defensive unit with ease and made several tackles and interceptions to prevent the lively Ethan Chislett and Louis Birch from progressing up the pitch.
The defensive solidarity from the Exiles gave them the platform to build upon and goals either side of half-time were enough to send County through to the Second Round of the Emirates FA Cup.
After previously hitting the post and seeing a header chalked off for offside, Padraig Amond finally got the goal his performance warranted when his header from a Robbie Willmott corner-kick squirmed under Luke Williams.
That came just four minutes before the break and County ensured the game was effectively over as a contest when putting some distance between the sides shortly after the restart, Jamille Matt bringing up double figures for the campaign with an easy tap-in after Williams had denied Tyreeq Bakinson.
The victory saw County safely through a potentially tricky tie amidst the horrible weather conditions in Surrey and here, you can find out exactly what Franks exclusively told iFollow Exiles upon the completion of the contest.
On progressing to the Second Round of the Emirates FA Cup after victory over Met Police FC…
"It was really tough conditions and probably did have all the makings of an upset. But I thought, after a bit of a sloppy start, we were professional and saw it through.
"Fair play to them, they did give us a good game. I think we did dominate the second-half and maybe could have won by four or five.
"But credit to Met Police because they created some chances in the first-half. I’ve been involved in that before, been the non-league team so I knew it was always going to be frantic in the first half an hour which it was.
"They had a few chances, we had a few chances and then the game settled down and then it was more comfortable for us.
"We all knew that this was their biggest game – they’ve had some TV coverage and you don’t normally get that at that level. I’ve been in that position before and it is a massive deal, this was the biggest game of their careers most of them and I think they did themselves credit. They gave us a really tough game."
On how important the victory was against the Blues…
"It’s massive. The finances for any League Two team are important, you need these kinds of runs. The boys were lucky enough to have a good one last season, I’ve got to the Third or Fourth Round in the past but never really drawn a big team before.
"Hopefully we get a decent draw on Monday night and continue this cup run. I think we fancy our chances against most teams at home. It would be really nice not to have to travel again but we’ll just have to see what is drawn out.
"The Third Round is the aim for every club so hopefully we can get there."
On making a welcome return to the starting side at Imber Court…
"It’s been a frustrating few weeks for myself not being able to be out there and helping the team.
"I feel like I let the team down not being available after the red card, then there were a few injuries [within the squad] as well so people had to play in different positions.
"If I wasn’t sent off [against Crawley Town] then maybe we’d have done a bit better over the past few weeks. But really pleased to get back in there, a clean sheet and a win is all you really care about.
"Fitness wise I felt fine and it was good to be back in there.
"Maybe one thing that has come out of my suspension is that we’ve seen Pipey can play there [centre of defence.] Mark O’Brien and Scot Bennett as well so good competition.
"But we’ve let in too many goals and been sloppy – now we’ve got five to choose from, if people are going to be doing that then they won’t be in the team.
"It should give us a kick and give us the motivation we need to get better again."
On looking to qualify from the group phase of the CheckaTrade Trophy on Tuesday night…
"I don’t think the club has progressed past this new group stage [since the tournament changed format.] It’s just another bonus, as players all you want is game after game.
"It’s not a disruption, especially as we’ve got people coming back fit now. We’ve got a good squad and we’ll be going trying to win and ultimately get through.
"We’ve just got to focus on ourselves. Plymouth Argyle really could pick whatever team they want so we’ve just got to worry about ourselves and if we perform right, we’ll get the win.
"Plymouth haven’t long gone up to League One, so I don’t think there’s a massive difference in their quality and our quality."
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