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CLUB-BY-CLUB GUIDE | A look ahead to the Exiles' 2020/21 Sky Bet League Two opponents

24 August 2020

With less than three weeks until the 2020/21 Sky Bet League Two campaign gets underway, we've taken a look at the Exiles' opponents for the upcoming season.

After the Carabao Cup first round clash against Swansea City on Saturday 5th September, Michael Flynn's men get their league campaign underway with a trip to face Scunthorpe United at the Sands Venue Stadium the following weekend.

Here's a full rundown of the Exiles' Sky Bet League Two opponents...

Barrow AFC 

Manager: David Dunn
Stadium: Progression Solicitors Stadium 
Last Meeting: Newport County AFC 0-2 Barrow AFC (January 19, 2013) 
Last Season: National League, 1st 

Barrow AFC return to the EFL following a 48-year absence after winning the National League. Scott Quigley and John Rooney – younger brother of Manchester United top goalscorer Wayne – fired the Bluebirds to the top of the table before the coronavirus pandemic halted the football calendar. Barrow AFC finished as league winners on unweighted points per game. 

Bolton Wanderers

Manager: Ian Evatt
Stadium: University of Bolton Stadium
Last Meeting: Bolton Wanderers 6-0 Newport County AFC (April 23, 1988)
Last Season: League One, 23rd 

After guiding Barrow back to the EFL, Ian Evatt joined relegated Bolton Wanderers as they prepare for their first season in the fourth tier for 32 years. Already one of the favourites for promotion, the Trotters will be aiming to return to League One at the first time of asking and have been busy in the transfer market with last season’s League Two top scorer Eoin Doyle one of their new arrivals.

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Bradford City AFC 

Manager: Stuart McCall
Stadium: Utilita Energy Stadium 
Last Meeting: Newport County AFC 2-1 Bradford City AFC (February 22, 2020) 
Last Season: League Two, 9th 

The Bantams narrowly missed out on a place in the play-offs last season and will be eager to go one step further this time around. The fixture went the side of the home team on both occasions last season, both with narrow one-goal margins.  

Cambridge United

Manager: Mark Bonner
Stadium: Abbey Stadium 
Last Meeting: Newport County AFC 0-1 Cambridge United (February 8, 2020)
Last Season: League Two, 16th 

Cambridge United finished just two places below and one point behind County in mid-table. 
Mark Bonner, who was named head coach on a permanent basis in March, has already made several signings ahead of his first full season in charge, including the arrival of Wes Hoolahan. 

Carlisle United 

Manager: Chris Beech
Stadium: Brunton Park
Last Meeting: Carlisle United 2-0 Newport County AFC (March 10, 2020)
Last Season: League Two, 18th 

Having enjoyed a solid season under Chris Beech last season, Carlisle will look to improve on their mid-table finish. County have a good record against the Blues, winning seven of the previous 12 meetings and losing just two.

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Cheltenham Town

Manager: Michael Duff
Stadium: Jonny-Rocks Stadium
Last Meeting: Newport County AFC 1-1 Cheltenham Town (January 1, 2020)
Last Season: League Two, 4th 

The Exiles have met Cheltenham, who made the play-offs last season, eight times over the last three seasons – including the thrilling 7-4 victory where Tristan Abrahams and Taylor Maloney scored hat-tricks – and will take each other on again in the EFL Trophy for the fourth season in a row. The league record has been more closely fought with six draws from 11 games.
 

Colchester United 

Manager: Steve Ball
Stadium: JobServe Community Stadium
Last Meeting: Colchester United 3-1 Newport County AFC (October 26, 2019) 
Last Season: League Two, 6th

Colchester enjoyed a strong campaign last season as they made the play-offs before losing to Exeter City. The Exiles will look to improve on their record against the U’s this season with only one victory to their name since 2016. 

Crawley Town 

Manager: John Yems
Stadium: People’s Pension Stadium
Last Meeting: Newport County AFC 1-1 Crawley Town (October 22, 2019)
Last Season: League Two, 13th 

The Reds have lost Ollie Palmer, who bagged 13 league goals last season, but have opted for a more youthful approach this season with Simon Kowalcyk and Zaid Al-Hussaini joining the ranks. The two sides couldn’t be separated last season with draws home and away.

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Exeter City 

Manager: Matt Taylor
Stadium: St James Park 
Last Meeting: Exeter City 1-0 Newport County AFC (December 26, 2019) 
Last Season: League Two, 5th 

Exeter narrowly missed out on a place in League One after losing the play-off final against Northampton Town. The Grecians are one of the favourites to be in and around the push for promotion again having made the play-offs in three out of the last four seasons. In 2018/19, they missed out by one point with the Exiles claiming a top-six finish that campaign. 

Forest Green Rovers 

Manager: Mark Cooper
Stadium: The New Lawn
Last Meeting: Forest Green Rovers 0-2 Newport County AFC (August 31, 2019)
Last Season: League Two, 10th 

The Exiles have enjoyed a strong record against the Green Army since their promotion in 2017, with just one defeat in five league meetings, including an impressive 4-0 victory at the New Lawn. There will be a familiar face lining up against County this season with Jamille Matt linking up with the Rovers. 

Grimsby Town 

Manager: Ian Holloway
Stadium: Blundell Park
Last Meeting: Grimsby Town 4-2 Newport County AFC (February 25, 2020)
Last Season: League Two, 15th 

Ian Holloway will aim to continue the improvement he oversaw when he took over the Mariners last season, guiding them to a mid-table finish. Meanwhile, Padraig Amond is on a hot-scoring streak against his former club having netted in the last three fixtures.

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Harrogate Town AFC 

Manager: Simon Weaver 
Stadium: CNG Stadium
Last Meeting: N/A
Last Season: National League, 2nd 

Harrogate will be competing in the EFL for the first time in their history and are a new opponent for the Exiles to face. The North Yorkshire side had to navigate through the play-offs to earn promotion, a route County are familiar with having done the same in 2013.

Leyton Orient 

Manager: Ross Embleton
Stadium: Breyer Group Stadium 
Last Meeting: Leyton Orient 2-1 Newport County AFC (January 25, 2020) 
Last Season: League Two, 17th 

The Exiles and Leyton Orient will always share a bond due to the legacy of the late great Justin Edinburgh, who led both clubs into the EFL. The O’s visit to Rodney Parade saw the legendary manager inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame while the return fixture coincided with the unveiling of the Justin Edinburgh Stand at the Breyer Group Stadium. On the pitch, the Exiles will be searching for a first win since 2016 against the London-based side. 

Mansfield Town 

Manager: Graham Coughlan
Stadium: One Call Stadium
Last Meeting: Mansfield Town 1-0 Newport County AFC (February 15, 2020)
Last Season: League Two, 21st 

The club’s recent record against Mansfield has improved with victory over the Stags in 2019, helping them into the play-offs where they edged past the Nottinghamshire team on penalties. A thrilling draw opened the campaign brightly for the two sides last season before a narrow defeat on a wet and windy away day. With the arrivals of James Perch and George Maris, the Stags will look to fight for promotion this season.

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Morecambe 

Manager: Derek Adams
Stadium: Mazuma Stadium
Last Meeting: Newport County AFC 1-0 Morecambe (March 7, 2020)
Last Season: League Two, 22nd 

Kevin Ellison’s release from Morecambe will bring a sigh of relief to County fans with the veteran striker a constant menace - the attacker has 12 goal contributions against the Exiles in 13 games. County bagged a first win in six games against the Shrimps in March with Ellison not featuring. 

Oldham Athletic AFC 

Manager: Harry Kewell 
Stadium: Boundary Park
Last Meeting: Oldham Athletic AFC 5-0 Newport County AFC (February 29, 2020)
Last Season: League Two, 19th 

It’s a new era at Boundary Park with Harry Kewell taking the reins earlier this month. Michael Flynn has a perfect record against the Australian as manager and will be hoping to keep that run going this season.  

Port Vale 

Manager: John Askey
Stadium: Vale Park 
Last Meeting: Newport County AFC 1-0 Port Vale (September 7, 2019) 
Last Season: League Two, 8th 

County’s clashes with the Valiants have always been closely-fought affairs with two wins and three draws in the last five games. Vale just missed out on the play-offs by one point last season and will be looking to go that extra step this year.  

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Salford City 

Manager: Graham Alexander
Stadium: Peninsula Stadium 
Last Meeting: Newport County AFC 0-0 Salford City, Salford win 6-5 on penalties (February 19, 2020) 
Last Season: League Two, 11th 

After a solid start to life in the EFL, Salford will look to build on their mid-table finish. The Lions have, again, strengthened their squad with eyes on a sixth promotion since 2014. 

Scunthorpe United 

Manager: Neil Cox
Stadium: Sands Venue Stadium
Last Meeting: Scunthorpe United 1-2 Newport County AFC (January 11, 2020)
Last Season: League Two, 20th 

Newport claimed a league double over the Iron last season, bagging 2-1 wins in both fixtures. Neil Cox is the new man in the dugout for Scunthorpe, joining from National League outfit Notts County. 

Southend United 

Manager: Mark Molesley
Stadium: Roots Hall
Last Meeting: Southend United 0-2 Newport County AFC
Last Season: League One, 22nd 

Mark Molesley will lead Southend this season after succeeding Sol Campbell as manager. The Shrimpers were relegated from League One last season and will be aiming to make an instant return to the third tier. 

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Stevenage 

Manager: Alex Revell
Stadium: Lamex Stadium
Last Meeting: Newport County AFC 1-1 Stevenage (December 14, 2019)
Last Season: League Two, 23rd 

Stevenage replaced Macclesfield Town at the bottom of the table after last season's League Two campaign was curtailed, and Alex Revell will now be preparing for another season in the EFL.

Tranmere Rovers 

Manager: Mike Jackson
Stadium: Prenton Park
Last Meeting: Newport County AFC 0-1 Tranmere Rovers AET (May 25, 2019)
Last Season: League One, 21st 

Mike Jackson replaced Micky Mellon in July as Tranmere suffered relegation from League One. The Exiles will get the chance to get revenge for their last-minute defeat in the 2019 play-off final. County hadn’t lost in their previous four meetings in the league.  

Walsall  

Manager: Darrell Clarke
Stadium: Banks’s Stadium
Last Meeting: Newport County AFC 0-0 Walsall (February 11, 2020)
Last Season: League Two, 12th 

In 180 minutes, neither County or the Saddlers could conjure up a goal in the two league meetings. There is a familiar face at Walsall this season with George Nurse joining them on loan.


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