After a heroic, historic and quite unexpected win at then table-topping Portsmouth on Tuesday night, it’s a trip to another country and the opposite end of the table for Paul Tisdale’s charges on Saturday. The physio’s room is somewhat overcrowded at present and hopefully the withdrawal of David Noble at half time on Tuesday was more precautionary as losing the mercurial midfielder would be a massive blow, while the likes of Oakley and Woodman may find it difficult to regain their places after fine performances from their replacements. Ryan Harley will also hope to be fit to feature.
Newport’s is a cautionary tale of becoming beholden to someone being willing to pump money in to a club to cover losses, as owner Les Scadding decided he had ploughed enough into the club over the years and withdrew his funding, leading the club if not into crisis certainly into a severe funding restructure which saw the squad budget slashed. Hot off the press is some more positive news however as it has been announced today (Thursday) that the Supporters Trust has reached its funding target to take over the club and has been handed control, so congratulations from one supporter-owned club to another on that score.
Their major task will be to oversee a recovery in the club’s fortunes on the pitch, which sees the Welsh side bottom of the table with just one victory from their opening ten games. Manager Terry Butcher lost his job on the back of those results, being one of the first acts by the new Trust. An old foe from down the A38 has been appointed, who despite wanting to move back to his family in the north of England, John Sheridan has gone down to south Wales and taken over the reigns at Rodney Parade.
Goals have been the big problem so far with just six scored, Scott Boden leading the way with three in all competitions. One player hoping to feature will be former City favourite Matt Taylor, who has been restricted to one substitute appearance so far since signing from relegated Cheltenham.
Last season saw City take four points from this fixture. The corresponding match last season saw City take a 2-0 lead in the first half through a Tom Nichols penalty and a stunning strike from Graham Cummins, before the Exiles stormed back through goals from Klukowski and Porter to draw 2-2. The reverse fixture was closely contested before late goals from Wheeler and Harley from the spot after Ismail Yakubu was sent off in conceding the penalty. The head to head has seen each side record one victory with two matches ending in draws.