Newport County AFC will be hoping to begin another Emirates FA Cup adventure when they travel to fellow League Two outfit Grimsby Town on Saturday. The Exiles made it to the Fifth Round for just the second time in their history last season, while the Mariners will be looking to get some confidence from the cup competitions which they could take back into league action.
Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this Emirates FA Cup encounter…
Emirates FA Cup record of Grimsby Town
Grimsby Town have only made the Third Round of the competition on one occasion in the past five seasons, but they did get a Premier League Side when falling to a late defeat at Crystal Palace on January 5th 2019.
The Mariners best success in this competition came pre-Second World War as they reached the semi-finals on two occasions in 1935/36 then again in 1938/39. Grimsby were in the top tier of English football both times they reached the last four.
Ultimately, Grimsby failed to reach the final as they lost 1-0 to eventual winners Arsenal on March 21st 1936 before a rather comprehensive 5-0 defeat against Wolverhampton Wanderers on March 25th 1939.
After having their last two League Two fixtures postponed, Grimsby Town manager Michael Jolley will likely field a full squad having only played one competitive fixture in the last three weeks.
In terms of injury news, Grimsby are likely to be without midfielder Max Wright and defender Luke Hendrie. Wright is expected to return to full training soon, but this game will come too early, while Hendrie is nursing a hamstring injury and will also be unavailable.
Grimsby Town team vs Leicester City U21s (4-4-2): Russell, Hewitt, Gibson, Davis, Pollock, Hessenthaler, Clifton, Robson, Rose, Cardwell, Ogbu.
One to Watch – James Hanson
A summer arrival, striker James Hanson certainly knows a thing or two about a cup run having been part of the Bradford City side which knocked Chelsea out of this competition in 2014/15 and he also got to the Carabao Cup final in 2012/13.
The goals have seemingly dried up since he hit five from his first six Mariners appearances, scooping the August player of the month award in the process, but now he is 11 without finding the net.
Most renowned for his eight years at Bradford, Hanson has scored 146 goals from 510 appearances in his professional career, also plying his trade with Guiseley, Sheffield United, Bury FC and AFC Wimbledon.
Manager – Michael Jolley
A surprise appointment just over 18 months ago, Michael Jolley will be hoping to build some momentum this campaign after a season and a half of languishing in the bottom half of the table.
An Emirates FA Cup run would certainly help breed some confidence for Jolley and his team who have a mixed bunch of results overall since his appointment. Jolley will welcome County to Lincolnshire with a 34.5%-win rate having won 29, drawn 16 and lost 39 of his 84 matches in charge.
Jolley’s not the most stereotypical of managers, however. A former fixed-income trader – who worked in London and New York for HSBC – Jolley was Cambridge educated with an MSc in Economics from Downing College and achieved a Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Coaching at the University of Stirling.
Whilst working in the world of banking until 2005, Jolley joined Crystal Palace Academy in a coaching capacity and from there, took a similar position with Nottingham Forest, but left after a year for a duel role with Falkirk and Stirling University Football Club.
Jolley joined Burnley in 2014 as Senior Professional Development Coach of the U23 Team, winning the Third Development League Cup final in 2015/16, before first-team manager Sean Dyche recommended him for a stint as manager at Swedish Premier Division side AFC Eskilstuna. Relegation soon followed, however, so he left the club and moved to Grimsby a couple of months later.
Stadium – Blundell Park
One of the oldest stadiums in the Football League, Blundell Park has been the home of Grimsby Town since way back in 1899 and County have certainly made their fair share of visits to the Lincolnshire venue for matches in the past.
Located conveniently just one mile from Cleethorpes train station, Blundell Park has a current capacity of 9,052 inside an all-seater stadium, although higher attendances were observed when there was partial terracing pre-1995.
Some recent away figures for trips to Lincolnshire read as 39 in 2016/17, 99 the season afterwards for a 2-1 victory and 78 for the fixture in League Two last season.
Meetings between the two sides in 2018/19
Both sides secured home victories and a clean sheet against each other which isn’t particularly a surprise since both sides have become accustomed to securing some impressive results in-front of their home supporters.
Rodney Parade hosted the first meeting on August 25th and County maintained their perfect home start with a slender 1-0 victory courtesy of Matty Dolan’s first half free kick. The Exiles could have had more on the afternoon, but Mariners goalkeeper James McKeown was in impressive form.
In the reverse fixture at Blundell Park on February 2nd, County could be forgiven for having one eye on an Emirates FA Cup replay with Middlesbrough as they fell to a comprehensive 3-0 defeat. Jordan Cook scored twice, and Mickey Demetriou put through his own net as a much-changed County side failed to make an imprint on proceedings.
Referee: Leigh Doughty
Assistant Referee 1: David Benton
Assistant Referee 2: Alix Pashley
Fourth Official: Stephen Wade
A referee promoted to the Football League at the start of the campaign, Leigh Doughty will take charge of a Newport County AFC fixture for just the second time on Saturday.
Doughty was the man in the middle as Padraig Amond scored a stoppage time winner to see off Crewe Alexandra on August 24th. Only Crewe centre half Olly Lancashire was shown a yellow card.
That County vs Crewe fixture was the third of Doughty’s 10 games thus far this campaign, brandishing 23 yellows and two red cards in that game, last officiating a fixture on October 19th as Cambridge United thumped Exeter City.
Those statistics follow on from the one solitary season he spent in the National League during 2018/19. Doughty officiated 16 matches – one of which came during the play-offs – giving out 38 yellows and two reds across the entirety of the campaign.
Other Emirates FA Cup fixtures involving League Two sides (All 3pm Saturday unless stated)
Dulwich Hamlet vs Carlisle United (7:55pm Friday)
Accrington Stanley vs Crewe Alexandra
Blackpool vs Morecambe
Bolton Wanderers vs Plymouth Argyle
Cambridge United vs Exeter City
Cheltenham Town vs Swindon Town
Colchester United vs Coventry City
Crawley Town vs Scunthorpe United
Forest Green Rovers vs Billericay Town
Mansfield Town vs Chorley Town
MK Dons vs Port Vale
Salford City vs Burton Albion
Shrewsbury Town vs Bradford City
Stevenage vs Peterborough United
Walsall vs Darlington
Chippenham Town vs Northampton Town (12:45pm Sunday)
Gateshead vs Oldham Athletic (12:45pm Sunday)
Leyton Orient vs Maldon & Tiptree (12:45pm Sunday)
Macclesfield Town vs Kingstonian (12:45pm Sunday)
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.
As the game is a cup match, no live showing of this fixture will occur on iFollow Exiles. However, commentary by Tim Thraves and Damien Footsoy can 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 iFollow Exiles.