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Match Previews

PREVIEW | Exiles welcome Southend United in first fixture of 2021

1 January 2021

Newport County AFC will kick off 2021 with a home fixture against Southend United as they make the trip to Rodney Parade on Saturday afternoon.

County's mid-week clash against Exeter City was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, so the Exiles will be raring to go against the Shrimpers.

Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this Sky Bet League Two fixture...

The opposition - Southend United

Southend have struggled for form and results so far this season, leaving them bottom of the league with 16 points. The Shrimpers have won four of their games, with four draws and 12 losses.

United began their Sky Bet League Two campaign in less than ideal fashion, failing to pick up a point in any of their first three games. After two consecutive draws, they then went on a six match losing run.

Since then, however, there have been signs of recovery from the Blues, who have managed four wins from their last nine matches, leaving them just four points from safety.

Team news

Tuesday’s postponement brought one positive for Newport County with no new injuries for the Exiles. Manager Michael Flynn has stated goalkeeper Nick Townsend is back available, while striker Ryan Taylor could also return to County's matchday squad on Saturday.

Southend were without Kyle Taylor, on loan from Bournemouth, for their game at Leyton Orient, with the midfielder currently self-isolating. The club are still awaiting his test results in the hope he can be available for Saturday.

One to watch – James Olayinka

James Olayinka has been an integral part of the Southend squad since joining on loan from Arsenal in October, playing in all but two games since his arrival.

The 20-year-old midfielder, who is yet to make a senior appearance for his parent club, has managed three goals in all competitions for the Shrimpers so far this term.

Manager – Mark Molesley

Mark Molesley was appointed manager of Southend United in August following their relegation to Sky Bet League Two and the departure of Sol Campbell from Roots Hall.

Molesley’s message and ideas may have taken time to get through to the players, however they have recently seen an upturn in results since the beginning of the season, with the Shimpers securing three home wins in their last five fixtures.

The Englishman, who has previously taken charge of the England C team, has previously managed Bournemouth's under-15 and under-21 sides, and also took charge of Weymouth FC.

Last meeting between the sides

The last meeting between County and United came in August 2017 in the first round of the EFL Cup. Southend, then a Sky Bet League League One club, were shocked by a County side that came away with a 2-0 win at Roots Hall.

The victory came courtesy of a quick-fire brace from on-loan Shawn McCoulsky in the second half. Two goals in six minutes saw the Exiles progress to the second round for the first time in four years.

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