Newport County AFC will be looking to extend their unbeaten league run to an unprecedented 18 matches when they travel to Northampton Town on Saturday. The Exiles could again also rise to the summit of the division with three points and other results going their way, while Northampton will be hoping for a victory which could kickstart their stuttering campaign.
Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this League Two encounter…
How they’ve started the League Two campaign
Tipped by Michael Flynn among others to be challengers this campaign, Northampton Town haven’t quite lived up to those expectations in the opening seven fixtures although when you have a major squad overhaul like the Cobblers, time will be required for the new recruits to adjust.
Northampton currently reside in 18th position with just seven points, although their two wins this campaign have been impressive ones after securing a 1-0 away victory at Swindon Town and a 3-1 home triumph against promotion favourites Plymouth Argyle.
The Cobblers have drawn 1-1 with Port Vale and suffered defeats against Walsall, Macclesfield Town, Colchester United and Bradford City.
Northampton Town manager Keith Curle will have to decide whether to rotate his squad on Saturday after they suffered a late defeat last weekend against Bradford City.
Midfielder Ryan Watson broke his collarbone earlier this month and is therefore ruled out of Saturday’s contest. The Cobblers have no further injury concerns.
Northampton Town team vs Bradford City (4-2-3-1): Cornell, Martin, Turnbull, Goode (C), Harriman, Lines, McWilliams, Hoskins, Warburton (Waters 68’), Adams (Wharton 73’), Williams (Oliver 54’)
One to Watch – Andy Williams
A striker who has scored goals wherever he’s been, Andy Williams has started the season off well so far by chipping in with three goals already, all of them coming in Northampton victories.
Often deployed as a lone striker, the 33-year old is into his second campaign with the Cobblers, where he netted a further 12 goals in 2018/19.
A striker who has scored 138 competitive goals in 572 appearances, Williams has also featured for Hereford United, Bristol Rovers, Yeovil Town, Swindon Town and Doncaster Rovers.
Manager – Keith Curle
A highly experienced manager particularly at League Two level, Keith Curle has done an excellent job in the hotseat at Northampton Town since taking charge in November 2018.
A team dejected after relegation in 2017/18 and a poor start to last season, Northampton turned to Curle and he steadied the ship quite significantly, before assembling a squad over the summer which could quite easily challenge at the top end of the table come May.
The sixth club of his managerial career, Curle has also taken charge of Mansfield Town, Chester City, Torquay United, Notts County and Carlisle United.
Stadium – The PTS Academy Stadium
A venue County have visited on five previous occasions, The PTS Academy Stadium is not the happiest of hunting grounds as the Exiles have lost every prior visit to this particular stadium in Northamptonshire.
An all seater stadium with a capacity of 7,798, away supporters will be housed in the Moulton College Stand which is behind one of the goals.
98 fans travelled on a Tuesday night last season for the 1-0 defeat.
Meetings between the two sides in 2018/19
Newport County AFC and Northampton Town both picked up home victories against each other last season as neither particularly imprinted a mark on proceedings away from home.
The first meeting came on November 27th at Rodney Parade in what was arguably County’s best home performance of the league campaign. They came out of the traps with great intent and goals from Josh Sheehan, Jamille Matt and Padraig Amond had the points settled before half time. Andy Williams had previously made it 1-1.
Northampton are the last team to beat the Exiles in a regular season fixture after they secured a 1-0 victory at The PTS Academy Stadium on March 12th.
In many ways this result, although disappointing at the time, really kickstarted County’s march to the play-offs as they knew they couldn’t afford another defeat in the run in. Joe Powell’s 25-yard stunner settled the contest in the 89th minute.
Referee: Alan Young
Assistant Referee 1: Matthew Lee
Assistant Referee 2: Christopher Ward
Fourth Official: Paul Hobday
A relatively new Football League referee, Alan Young stepped up from the National League at the start of the last campaign and took charge of his first game on August 4th 2018 when Crewe Alexandra dismantled Morecambe in a 6-0 victory.
Thus far this campaign, he has presided over five matches, awarding 19 yellow cards and one red card, last taking charge of a match on August 31st when AFC Wimbledon and Wycombe Wanderers played out a 0-0 draw.
That follows on from refereeing a total of 35 games during his debut Football League season of 2018/19, a season in which Young brandished 149 yellow cards and four red cards throughout the entirety of the campaign.
Alan Young has refereed a match involving Newport County AFC on three previous occasions in League Two. Something will have to give on Saturday as the Exiles have won one, drawn one and lost the other of the prior contests.
All three fixtures came last season, starting with Jamille Matt’s dramatic stoppage time winner against Notts County in a 3-2 victory on August 21st. Tyreeq Bakinson and Josh Sheehan were booked at Rodney Parade.
Next comes the 2-1 defeat at Cheltenham Town on November 24th, a result which gave Robins boss Michael Duff his first home league triumph. Only Fraser Franks was booked from a County perspective.
The remaining fixture came on April 6th as the Exiles and Tranmere Rovers played out a 0-0 draw at Rodney Parade. Four County players saw cards brandished in their direction – Regan Poole, Joss Labadie, Dan Butler and Mark O’Brien.
Other League Two fixtures that day (All 3pm kick-offs)
Crawley Town vs Mansfield Town
Crewe Alexandra vs Cambridge United
Exeter City vs Leyton Orient
Forest Green Rovers vs Colchester United
Oldham Athletic vs Grimsby Town
Port Vale vs Plymouth Argyle
Salford City vs Cheltenham Town
Scunthorpe United vs Morecambe
Stevenage vs Carlisle United
Swindon Town vs Macclesfield Town
Walsall vs Bradford City
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 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.