Newport County AFC will be looking to continue their unbeaten home start to the League Two campaign when they entertain Scunthorpe United on Saturday at Rodney Parade. After a rare weekend off, the Exiles will be raring to go on their return to action while Scunthorpe will be looking to maintain their momentum built up from some positive results in recent matches.
Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this League Two encounter…
How they’ve started the League Two campaign
It appears that Scunthorpe United are starting to find their feet in League Two this season having only suffered one defeat from the last six matches – the Iron lost six of their opening seven before this more recent run.
They currently reside in 22nd position but are starting to gradually climb the table having picked up nine points from the last 18 available – 3-0 victories over Morecambe and Northampton Town were secured alongside draws against Oldham Athletic, Bradford City and Plymouth Argyle.
A point was also picked up in matchday three against Crawley Town while they’ve suffered defeats against Swindon Town, Cheltenham Town, Cambridge United, Macclesfield Town, Carlisle United, Mansfield Town and Walsall.
Like Michael Flynn, Scunthorpe United manager Paul Hurst likes to keep his cards close to his chest regarding injury news when meeting the press for his weekly news conference.
Before last weekend’s fixture, Hurst announced there could be six absentees but point blank refused to offer names just incase the opposition benefitted from the early alert. Midfielder Matthew Lund is definitely unavailable as he completes a suspension.
Scunthorpe United team vs Northampton Town (4-4-2): Watson (Eastwood 55’), Ntlhe, McGahey, McArdle, Brown, Gilliead, Sutton (Slater 83’), Songo’o, Colclough, van Veen (Proctor 45’), Novak
One to Watch – Lee Novak
A striker with plenty of experience of playing in the Football League, Lee Novak will be hoping that his double against Northampton Town will kickstart his season after missing six weeks through an ankle injury.
Born in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, the 31-year old started his career wit Scottish outfit Gretna before returning to the North East to ply his trade with Newcastle Blue Star then Gateshead.
A move to Huddersfield Town materialised in January 2009 and Novak has been in the Football League ever since, featuring for the Terriers, Birmingham City, Chesterfield, Charlton Athletic and now the Iron who he joined in August 2017.
Over the course of his career, Novak has scored 124 goals from 442 appearances.
Manager – Paul Hurst
A highly experienced manager, Paul Hurst has taken a little while to implement his philosophy at Scunthorpe United having taken charge over the summer but now the Iron seem to be firing as he looks to propel them up the League Two table.
A promotion winner with three different clubs, Hurst started his managerial career in the non-leagues and led both Ilkeston Town and Boston United into the Conference North, before taking Grimsby Town into the Football League in 2015/16 – three seasons after losing to County in the play-off semi-finals.
From there the 45-year old moved to Shrewsbury Town who he led away from relegation in his first season before guiding them to the EFL Trophy Final and the League One play-off final in 2018, although they lost both matches.
His performances with the Shrews caught the attention of Ipswich – then of the Championship – who made him manager in May 2018. Just one win in his first 15 matches cost him his job, and he spent a few months away from management before taking over at Glanford Park in the summer.
Referee: Tom Nield
Assistant Referee 1: Ravel Cheosiaua
Assistant Referee 2: Kevin Howick
Fourth Official: Darren Wilding
An official who broke through during his involvement at the 2012 Olympic Games, Tom Nield is currently embarking on his third full season as a Football League referee having first taken charge of a League Two fixture on August 12th 2017 when Carlisle United won at Cambridge United.
He has taken charge of ten matches thus far this campaign, brandishing 25 yellow cards and one red card, last refereeing a match on October 12th as Rochdale saw off Accrington Stanley.
Those statistics follow on from refereeing 21 games last year, a season in which Nield awarded 68 yellow cards and three red cards throughout the entirety of the campaign.
Nield has only refereed one previous match involving Newport County AFC.
It wasn’t exactly the most inspiring of games on February 24th 2018 as the Exiles were held to a 0-0 draw at Port Vale. Mark O’Brien saw a shot blocked on the goal line but that was about it from the fixture at Vale Park. Dan Butler was booked.
Other League Two fixtures that afternoon (All 3pm kick-offs)
Bradford City vs Crawley Town
Cambridge United vs Exeter City
Colchester United vs Morecambe
Crewe Alexandra vs Swindon Town
Forest Green Rovers vs Mansfield Town
Grimsby Town vs Leyton Orient
Northampton Town vs Salford City
Oldham Athletic vs Macclesfield Town
Plymouth Argyle vs Carlisle United
Port Vale vs Stevenage
Walsall vs Cheltenham 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 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.