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MATCH PREVIEW: Newport County vs Swindon…

Town head to South Wales to face Exiles as Jody Morris takes charge for the first time…

3 February 2023

Club News

MATCH PREVIEW: Newport County vs Swindon…

Town head to South Wales to face Exiles as Jody Morris takes charge for the first time…

3 February 2023

Swindon Town take on Newport County this weekend as they return to League Two action with a new manager in charge.

Jody Morris was appointed First-Team Head Coach this week and will be in the dugout for the first time for Saturday’s encounter in South Wales.

Here’s a preview on Graham Coughlan’s side as we edge closer to the big day.

The lowdown…

Formed in 1912, The Exiles gained promotion to the second division just before the Second World War.

As football resumed after the conflict, they suffered a 13-0 defeat to Newcastle United - a joint football league record.

In the 1970-71 season, County set another unwanted title as went winless in their first 25 games in the division.

The eighties then brought both the brightest and darkest moments in the club's history. In 1980 they secured promotion to the Third Division and enjoyed a fruitful Welsh Cup campaign, and three seasons later they achieved their highest post war finish by coming fourth in the league.

After successive relegations, Newport failed to complete their first season in the Conference as they went out of business and suffered expulsion from the competition. In 1989 the club was reformed by 400 supporters, spending a short time playing in Gloucester.

A 2-0 win over Wrexham in the Play-Off Final would see County return to the Football League in 2013/14.

Under Michael Flynn, Newport miraculously retained EFL status following an extraordinary escape in 2017. Cup runs and play-off finals would follow before James Rowberry replaced the departing Flynn last season.

However, the club’s managerial merry-go-round continued when Rowberry was dismissed in October last year with The Exiles in 18th place in League Two, 13 matches into the campaign.

 

The Stadium…

County play their home games at Rodney Parade, a ground owned and operated by the Welsh Rugby Union.

It’s located on the east bank of the River Usk in Newport city centre, and is also home to the Dragons rugby union team.

It’s the second-oldest sports venue in the Football League, after Deepdale, as at full capacity, it can hold 7,850 fans.

Did you know? Newport Squash Club has four courts at Rodney Parade.

The last five previous meetings…

The two sides met in League Two back in October as Town emerged victorious at the County Ground, claiming a 1-0 win courtesy of a Luke Jephcott strike early in the second half.

Previous to this, the last five match ups between the pair have only seen wins for either side, with three going the way of the Welsh outfit and two for Town.

They’re last meeting back in April last season came in League Two, with Newport defeating Swindon on home turf by the single goal – running out 1-0 winners.

The earlier meeting last term saw Swindon take all three points with a 2-1 win at Rodney Parade. Jack Payne scored a late winner that day after Finn Azaz had put through his own net.

That result was part of a league and cup double-header with the two playing each other twice in the space of eleven days, as Jordan Lyden scored the only goal to beat The Exiles 1-0 in the EFL Trophy.

The two ties before that during the 2020/2021 campaign saw Newport do the double over Town, with 2-0 victories in both the home and away clashes in September 2019 and January 2020.

Newport this season…

The Exiles currently sit nineteenth in the league standings, and are on a run of just one win in nine in all competitions.

Their last League Two victory came back in early December, as they defeated Crewe Alexandra away, but have faltered since.

A narrow 1-0 loss at home to Doncaster followed, with four straight draws after that, before going down 2-0 at Carlisle in their last outing, which came back on January 14th.

They’re also finding goals hard to come by, with just four scored in their last six.

The manager…

Graham Coughlan took the Rodney Parade reins back in October following the dismissal of James Rowberry, signing a two-and-a-half year contract with the club.

The 48-year-old Irishman started well in South Wales, winning his first game in charge with a 1-0 win over Colchester United, and went unbeaten in the four that followed.

However, the clubs defeat to Premier League Leicester City in the League Cup seemed to upset their good form, with five defeats in the next seven.

After retiring as a player in 2013 following a career that involved the likes of Plymouth Argyle, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham and even a loan spell at Swindon Town, he took up his first managerial post at Bristol Rovers in December 2018, following the departure of Darrell Clarke and Marcus Stewart.

A controversial move to Mansfield followed in December 2019, but after a poor start to the season, the Dubliner and The Stags parted ways in October 2020.

In March 2021, Coughlan joined Sheffield United to head up their Under-23s, before making the move to South Wales late last year.

Key players

The standout man for County this term has been striker Omar Bogle, who is their top marksman with seven goals.

The Congolese-born Offrande Zanzala has also been on impressive form this season, contributing three goals in just nine appearances thus far.

Graham Coughlan has also been utlising Bournemouth loanee Nathan Moriah-Welsh, with the tricky central-midfielder netting three goals, and is pretty much involved inall the good things The Exiles do.

One thing Jody Morris’ side will have to be wary of is the ability of the Newport backline to create goals for those in front of them.

Right-back Aaron Lewis and centre-back Priestley Farquharson have a combined five assists to their name, with Cameron Norman also stepping up with two of his own when he’s featured.

Newport were relatively busy throughout January too, bringing in four new faces to bolster the ranks.

Harry Charsley completed a switch from Port Vale, with the club completing loan deals for Manchester United youngster Charlie McNeill, Stoke City’s Matt Baker, and 19-year-old Calum Kavanagh, with the Irishman joining from Championship side Middlesbrough.


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