Newport County AFC will be looking to return to League Two action in style when they host Oldham Athletic on Saturday. Recent success in the cup competitions should give County momentum heading into the fixture, while the visitors will head to Rodney Parade determined to continue some recent good League Two form while trying to get away from the wrong end of the table.
Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this League Two encounter…
How they’ve started the League Two campaign
It’s not been the easiest of starts to the season for Oldham Athletic but a recent club statement confirming the current financial situation of the club should mean a time of prosperity as the Latics look to rediscover some good form.
Oldham have only secured three victories in League Two – against Cambridge United, Morecambe and Walsall – meaning the Latics currently reside in 22nd position with 16 points from 17 fixtures.
They are unbeaten in the last three – accruing five points – which might suggest an upturn in form as they look to get away from a relegation dogfight and instead be fighting at the right end of the table.
Oldham Athletic manager Dino Maamria confirmed he is going to wait until the very last minute before deciding on the fitness of a quarter of his players.
He told the press yesterday: “It's touch and go to have Zak Mills on the pitch on Saturday, if we have him it'll be a big bonus for us. David Wheater has been training as well, we've got to manage his training load. With a back injury you never know but fingers crossed he'll be fit.
“And Desire Azankpo is also back training, he came on for half-an-hour at Fleetwood and scored a goal. He's been training this week and hopefully he'll be in contention for Saturday. Johan Branger Engone is still injured for a while yet.”
Oldham Athletic team vs Fleetwood Town (4-3-3): De la Paz, Mills, Iacovitti, Stott, Morais (45' Maouche), Sylla, McCann (C), Smith, Eagles (45' Eagles), Hamer, Emmerson (65' Azankpo).
One to Watch – Filipe Morais
A well-travelled and experienced midfielder, 34-year old Filipe Morais has been a mainstay in the Oldham Athletic side this season as he embarks on his first campaign back with the Latics who he also played for between 2010-2012.
The 34-year old has chipped in with four goals this season – against Walsall, Grimsby Town, Cheltenham Town and Gateshead – from 20 appearances in total across all competitions.
The Portuguese youth international started his professional career with Chelsea although never made a first-team appearance, plying his trade with MK Dons, Millwall, St Johnstone, Hibernian, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Stevenage, Bradford City, Bolton Wanderers, Crawley Town before returning to Greater Manchester.
Manager – Dino Maamria
A former assistant manager at Newport County AFC during the tenure of Graham Westley, Tunisian Dino Maamria is now trying to forge a successful career for himself in management with Oldham Athletic being his fifth permanent position.
He’s only been in the job for two months, but he hasn’t quite had the desired impact yet with a win percentage of 27.3%. The Latics have won three of his 11 matches in charge, drawing the same number and losing the remaining five.
Most successful during his spell with Nuneaton Town, Maamria has also managed Northwich Victoria, Southport and Stevenage, managing 169 matches and winning 59 across all those spells.
Meetings between the two sides in 2018/19
Two victories with clean sheets for Newport County AFC as they certainly enjoyed their afternoons against a side they hadn’t met since a two-legged League Cup tie in 1981.
In the first fixture at Boundary Park on September 8th, Tyreeq Bakinson scored his only County goal with 20 minutes to play to put the Exiles joint top of the league with a 1-0 victory.
At Rodney Parade on April 30th, County moved into the play-off positions ahead of the final league fixture with a confident 2-0 victory. Mark O’Brien and Robbie Willmott both scored on the half volley as County miraculously continued their rise up the table into 7th position.
Referee: Craig Hicks
Assistant Referee 1: Robert Dabbs
Assistant Referee 2: Christopher Kidd
Fourth Official: Christopher Husband
Craig Hicks is currently embarking on his third full season as a Football League referee having first officiated in League Two on August 12th 2017 as Wycombe Wanderers battled to a 3-2 away victory at Port Vale.
He has presided over 15 matches thus far this campaign, brandishing 39 yellow cards and four red cards, last taking charge of a fixture on November 16th as Northampton Town secured a comprehensive victory over Crewe Alexandra.
Those statistics follow on from refereeing 40 games last year, a season in which Hicks awarded 114 yellow cards and five red cards throughout the entirety of the 2018/19 campaign.
Hicks has officiated a match involving Newport County AFC on five previous occasions in League Two. The Exiles have a good recent record in fixtures taken charge of by this referee, winning two, drawing two and losing on just one occasion.
Interestingly, the last County fixture he took charge of was this same fixture last season as the Exiles moved into the play-offs with a 2-0 victory on April 30th. Ade Azeez was booked. He was also the referee for the 0-0 draw with Wrexham AFC in the Emirates FA Cup on December 1st, this time Mark O’Brien and Josh Sheehan shown yellows.
He presided over three County fixtures in 2017/18 ending with a win, draw and a defeat. The victory came on September 26th as County defeated Crawley Town 2-1 away from home. Dan Butler, captain Joss Labadie and Ben Tozer were all booked.
The draw came in the 1-1 stalemate with Luton Town at Rodney Parade on March 17th when Matty Dolan and O’Brien were cautioned. The record concludes with the 3-0 defeat at Notts County on October 28th as Mickey Demetriou and Frank Nouble saw yellows brandished in their direction, Dan Butler was dismissed but it was rescinded on appeal.
Other League Two fixtures that afternoon (All 3pm kick-offs)
Carlisle United vs Cambridge United
Cheltenham Town vs Colchester United
Crawley Town vs Exeter City
Crewe Alexandra vs Morecambe
Leyton Orient vs Forest Green Rovers
Northampton Town vs Grimsby Town
Plymouth Argyle vs Bradford City
Salford City vs Macclesfield Town
Scunthorpe United vs Port Vale
Swindon Town vs Mansfield Town
Walsall vs Stevenage
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.