The footballing world will turn its attention to Rodney Parade this Sunday afternoon when we welcome Premier League giants Manchester United in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup. The first-time encounter between the two teams has attracted global media attention and promises to be a memorable afternoon in front of a sold-out Rodney Parade.
Graham Coughlan’s team are unbeaten in seven games across all competitions. They will come into the game confident they can cause Erik Ten Hag’s team a problem after a confident display against Wrexham last weekend.
The gaffer will have a few selection headaches ahead of the match, with every player itching for a chance to prove themselves against United.
Manager Graham Coughlan faced more press than usual this week as the national and international media flocked to Rodney Parade to ask Coughlan a question: "We're going up against an elite team, a Premier League team [Manchester United] they're machines," confirmed the Gaffer.
"It's going to be mighty difficult, one hell of a task.
"We've got to show our resillience, have a game plan in place and stick to it. We're going to need our goalkeeper to be on top form, our players all up for it, we can't carry any passengers tomorrow," stated Coughlan.
"We'll need to produce an unreal performance, we'll perhaps need them to be slightly off [it] tomorrow, and again you're going to need lady luck on your side as well as a couple of decisions that could come your way as well. There's a lot of factors that we'll need if we want to come away with any type of result."
You can watch the entirety of Graham Coughlan's pre-match press conference online HERE.
Manchester United have been off the pace in the Premier League this season, with Erik Ten Hag’s men sitting eighth in the league, eleven points off Aston Villa in fourth.
The Reds have won one game in their last six Premier League outings, a stunning 3-2 comeback victory against Aston Villa on Boxing Day, with an inspired brace by Alejandro Garnacho bringing them back into the game.
Their last match was a thrilling 2-2 draw at Old Trafford with Tottenham. Rasmus Højlund opened the scoring in just the third minute, with Richarlison grabbing the equaliser just before the 20-minute mark.
Marcus Rashford then grabbed his second goal in three games just before the break, before Bentacur ensured the points would be shared after half-time.
United cruised through the FA Cup Third Round with a professional display against League One Wigan Athletic. Ten Hag paid the Greater Manchester outfit plenty of respect, fielding a strong XI that featured the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, Alejandro Garnacho, and Rasmus Højlund.
With United now out of all competitions, the FA Cup presents the club with their biggest chance of a trophy this season, and Ten Hag is not going to take the fixture lightly. While we see some changes from the team that lined up against Tottenham, you can expect to see a strong side take to the field at Rodney Parade on Sunday afternoon.
Luke Shaw could return to the United team after pulling out of their game with Tottenham, while Lisando Martinez could continue returning from injury after coming off the bench against the North London outfit.
Casemiro was also on the bench against Spurs. The Brazilian international had been on the sidelines for several months and could make an appearance in South Wales this weekend.
Onana is away on international duties at AFCON, so it's Altay Bayindir who will start in goal making his Manchester United debut. Antony Martial has been ruled out of the game through injury.
There are doubts over Marcus Rashford’s status, with the England striker reporting ill at Carrington on Friday morning.
Head to Head
Newport and Manchester United have had friendly matches in the past, but Sunday will be the first time the two teams have locked horns competitively.
Played for Both
One of the most notable players to have swapped Rodney Parade for Old Trafford is Regan Poole. The talented defender was the youngest player to make his debut for Newport County in 2014, with his excellent defensive displays attracting the attention of several Premier League clubs.
He would eventually put pen to paper on a deal at Manchester United in 2015. He would return to Newport on loan, as well as spending a period on loan at Northampton before being released by United in 2019.
Poole is currently at Portsmouth after spells at MK Dons and Lincoln. Unfortunately, his season ended due to injury, with the defender having played a pivotal role in Portsmouth’s promotion push so far this campaign.
Last season, we took young Charlie McNeil on loan from Manchester United. The 20-year-old made 20 appearances in amber and black, hitting the net twice before returning to United.
Due to tomorrow's game being a sell out, Newport County alongside Newport council have put together a document to ensure your safety when visiting Rodney Parade on Sunday. The document highlights any road closures, notices and events that will be happening prior to tomorrow's Emirates FA Cup clash. Read more HERE.
Tomorrow's match sponsor will be MG Motors.