Newport County AFC will be looking to get back to winning ways in League Two when they go to Bradford City on Saturday. The Exiles will be buoyed by two cup victories in the past seven days, while the Bantams will be hoping to continue an imperious home record built up already this campaign.
Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this League Two encounter…
How they’re getting on in League Two
A team heavily backed for promotion if not the title, it’s not always easy to live up to pre-season expectations but Bradford City are doing a pretty good job when residing in 7th position after accruing 31 points from 18 fixtures.
They’ve got a game in hand on all bar of the sides above them, which means they could theoretically rise to third, and they’ve been pretty consistent all season with nine wins, four draws and five defeats.
The Bantams are formidable at home and currently sit joint top of the home table after picking up 19 points from 27, collecting the same amount of points in-front of their home supporters as Northampton Town, Port Vale and Swindon Town.
Bradford City manager Gary Bowyer doesn’t appear to have any fresh injury concerns ahead of welcoming Newport County AFC to West Yorkshire on Saturday.
Midfielders Matty Palmer and Shay McCartan will undergo late fitness tests but they’re not too far away from a first team return, while fellow midfield option Jake Reeves gave his manager a welcome boost last weekend by making his first league appearance for 22 months.
Bradford City team vs Macclesfield Town (4-3-3): O’Donnell, Wood, Richards-Everton, O’Connor, Henley, Pritchard, Reeves (Akpan 84’), Taylor, Ismail (Oteh 64’), Vaughan (C), Connolly
One to Watch – James Vaughan
A vastly experienced centre forward, James Vaughan signed for Bradford City over the summer and was quickly installed as club captain, repaying the club with six goals in his first 19 appearances.
The 31-year old has scored goals wherever he’s been, playing in all four of the top tiers in English football, most notably in the Premier League with Everton and Norwich City.
Vaughan has also plied his trade for Derby County, Leicester City, Crystal Palace, Huddersfield Town, Birmingham City, Bury FC, Sunderland, Wigan Athletic and Portsmouth – scoring 86 goals from 338 professional appearances.
Manager – Gary Bowyer
A manager with lots of Football League experience, Gary Bowyer will be hoping to mastermind his second promotion from League Two with Bradford City this season.
Starting his coaching career in the age grades at Blackburn Rovers, Bowyer had two caretaker spells in charge of Rovers alongside two years as permanent manager before moving to Blackpool in June 2016.
He led the Seasiders back to League One in his first season in charge, got them into the top half during their first season back in the third tier, but then left after one game of the 2018/19 campaign. He joined Bradford a couple of months later.
Stadium – Utilita Energy Stadium
Likely to be a new stadium for most away supporters who make the journey to West Yorkshire, Saturday’s match will represent the first time County have played at the Utilita Energy Stadium since 1984.
The biggest stadium currently in League Two, the Utilita Energy Stadium is also one of the oldest in the Football League having been built in 1886 and it currently holds 25,136. It is all-seater.
Away supporters will be housed behind one of the goals.
Referee: Anthony Backhouse
Assistant Referee 1: Declan Ford
Assistant Referee 2: Andrew Dallison
Fourth Official: Geoffrey Liddle
Backhouse is currently embarking on his third season as a Football League referee having first taken charge of a League Two fixture on August 5th 2017 when Jodi Jones scored a hat-trick for Coventry City against Notts County.
He has presided over 15 matches thus far this campaign, brandishing 49 yellow cards and two red cards, last taking charge of a fixture on December 1st when Coventry City and Ipswich Town drew in the Emirates FA Cup.
Those statistics follow on from refereeing 39 games last year, a season in which Backhouse awarded 105 yellow cards and five red cards throughout the entirety of the 2018/19 campaign.
Backhouse has only refereed one previous Newport County AFC fixture.
The Exiles will be desperate to improve on that previous outing where they were condemned to a comprehensive 3-0 defeat at Grimsby Town on February 2nd 2019. David Pipe was the only County player booked.
Other League Two fixtures that afternoon (All 3pm kick-offs)
Cambridge United vs Plymouth Argyle
Colchester United vs Salford City
Exeter City vs Northampton Town
Forest Green Rovers vs Scunthorpe United
Grimsby Town vs Swindon Town
Macclesfield Town vs Crewe Alexandra
Mansfield Town vs Cheltenham Town
Morecambe vs Carlisle United
Oldham Athletic vs Leyton Orient
Port Vale vs Walsall
Stevenage vs Crawley Town
Can’t make the match?
You can follow along on social media using @NCAFCLive on Twitter, or via the Club’s official Facebook, Snapchat (OfficialExiles) and Instagram pages.
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 Tim Thraves and Damien Footsoy 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.