Newport County AFC will be looking to begin 2020 in favourable fashion when they host Cheltenham Town on Wednesday. Both sides have mixed results in the recent calendar year curtain raisers so they’ll be desperate to get all three points to kick off the year in perfect fashion.
Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this League Two encounter…
How they’ve been getting on in League Two
Cheltenham Town slipped out of the play-off places on Sunday following a 1-1 draw at another promotion contender in Northampton Town, a result which extended their mini blip of results where they’ve only won one of the last nine league games.
The Robins are one of only two sides to have lost a league low four matches – Exeter City are the other – so they are picking up points all the time but they’ll need to return to winning ways on a consistent basis if they are to achieve their play-off ambition.
County manager Michael Flynn hinted at the start of the campaign that the points tally required for the play-offs might be more than last season so draws might not be enough for a top seven spot as some sides start building winning runs.
Cheltenham Town manager Michael Duff will have to contend with several attacking absentees ahead of the short trip to Rodney Parade on Wednesday.
Striker Alex Addai saw red in stoppage time on Sunday so he’s suspended, while veteran Luke Varney will face a late fitness test. Gavin Reilly’s loan has not been extended so he won’t play, while Jonte Smith is struggling with illness. Reuben Reid and Chris Hussey could also miss out.
Cheltenham Town team vs Northampton Town (3-4-3): Flinders; Raglan, Tozer, Greaves; Long, Thomas, Doyle-Hayes (Ince 31’), Hussey; Sheaf (Addai 65’), Lloyd (Campbell 81’), Broom
One to Watch – Tahvon Campbell
With Cheltenham Town missing several strikers for the trip to Rodney Parade, the onus will likely be on Tahvon Campbell to get his first in a Robins shirt having joined over the summer, making nine appearances without a goal.
He’s missed patches of the season with injury and only recently returned from a setback, playing only nine minutes against Northampton Town on Sunday, but the 22-year old might have to play for longer due to attacking absentees.
A highly experienced Football League striker despite his young age, Campbell has also plied his trade for Kidderminster Harriers, Yeovil Town, Notts County, Solihull Moors, Forest Green Rovers and Gillingham.
Manager – Michael Duff
Similar to Michael Flynn in many aspects, Cheltenham Town manager Michael Duff is doing a fantastic job at a former club from his playing days when taking the Robins from relegation favourites to promotion contenders inside 14 months.
It wasn’t always rosy for Duff who struggled initially for a month or so but it was a victory against County in November 2018 which instilled some belief within the camp and the Robins haven’t looked back since and currently sit in 8th place of the League Two table.
The upturn in form reflects Duff’s overall statistics as manager and he will head to Rodney Parade boasting 27 wins from his 76 matches in charge, drawing a further 25 and losing on 24 occasions.
Last meeting between the two sides
Cheltenham Town 4 – 7 Newport County AFC
Leasing.Com Trophy Group Stages – November 12th 2019
An extraordinary evening in Gloucestershire saw eleven goals scored and ultimately Newport County AFC progressing to the knockout stages of the Leasing.Com Trophy at Cheltenham Town’s expense.
Tristan Abrahams and Taylor Maloney scored hat-tricks – the first for both in the professional game – while Matty Dolan converted a penalty as County successfully got the two or more goal victory they required to get through to the Second Round of the competition.
For Cheltenham, Max Sheaf, Alex Addai, Sean Long and former Exile Ben Tozer found the target during a game which County led 5-3 at half-time. Quite simply: a reporter’s nightmare.
Referee: Peter Wright
Assistant Referee 1: Paul Hobday
Assistant Referee 2: Kevin Howick
Fourth Official: Simon Shaw
Wright is currently embarking on just his second season as a Football League referee having first officiated a game in League Two on August 11th 2018 as Stevenage won away at Crawley Town.
He has presided over 21 games thus far this campaign, brandishing 64 yellow cards and two red cards, last taking charge of a game on Boxing Day as Salford City beat Crewe Alexandra.
Those statistics follow on from refereeing 36 games in his debut Football League campaign, a season in which Wright awarded 103 yellow cards and seven red cards throughout the entirety of the campaign.
Wright has officiated a match involving Newport County AFC on three previous occasions in League Two. Interestingly, all those fixtures also came at Rodney Parade and County won two and lost one of the prior fixtures.
He has already refereed County once this season in arguably one of the most impressive results of the domestic campaign. Joss Labadie and Jamille Matt were booked as the Exiles beat Plymouth Argyle on August 17th.
The other two fixtures came last season with two polar opposite results. Unfortunately, the first game was a nightmare as Yeovil Town scored six on a disappointing September 15th 2018 afternoon. Robbie Willmott was sent off, while Josh Sheehan was booked.
County made sure to recover from that disappointment when stunning Bury FC with a 3-1 victory on April 19th, a result that was crucial in reaching the play-offs. Mickey Demetriou, Dan Butler and Matty Dolan were all cautioned.
Other League Two matches that afternoon (All 3pm kick-offs)
Bradford City vs Morecambe
Cambridge United vs Mansfield Town
Colchester United vs Crawley Town
Crewe Alexandra vs Carlisle United
Forest Green Rovers vs Exeter City
Grimsby Town vs Salford City
Northampton Town vs Stevenage
Oldham Athletic vs Scunthorpe United
Plymouth Argyle vs Swindon Town
Port Vale vs Macclesfield Town
Walsall vs Leyton Orient
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 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.