|Newport County 0 v 8 Southampton|
Wednesday, 25th August 2021 Kick-off 19:45
Southampton At Newport County The Preview
Wednesday, 25th Aug 2021 09:54
Saints fans will be hoping for a first look at a new signing or two when the team travel to South Wales to take on Newport County, with Ralph Hasenhuttl hinting that there will be squad rotation there is quite a good chance that the team will be somewhat different than the one that faced Manchester United
With three fixtures in six days it would not be gambling too much to suggest that Ralph Hasenhuttl will be making multiple changes from the team that drew with Manchester United on Sunday and that means an opportunity for youth to shine.
But Ralph will also have to keep a backbone of experience and that will give some of the fringe players a chance.
In goal it is highly likely that Fraser Forster will return to the team, Alex McCarthy has been far from convincing in the opening two games and although it might be tempting for Ralph to see if he can play his way back into form, I suspect that Forster will get the job tonight and looking to push his claim to be first choice.
The defence is a little more difficult in that in the second half on Sunday we had all three of our current experienced central defenders in action and at least one of them will have to play, I have a sneaking suspicion that Dynel Simeu our acquisition from Chelsea will play some part in this game, but will he be started and if so the question is who partners him, Jan Bednarek could be the man for the job here.
At right back Kyle Walker Peters could return, but then again so could Yan Valery, on the other side I have a feeling that our latest signing Thierry Small could play some part, but again like Simeu I think it will be off the bench as he will suffer from a lack of fitness, indeed it is his level of fitness that could preclude him from this game. Perhaps it could be that KWP starts on the left with Valery on the right.
In the midfield there are options, I would suspect Ibrahima Diallo would get a start, but again it is who plays alongside him, is Stuart Armstrong fit and will he get a run out ? If not they perhaps JWP will provide the experience here.
Out wide I think it will be Nathan Redmond on one side and then it is a case of whether they slot in another youngster or for for experience with Moussa Djenepo or Theo Walcott.
Up front will be interesting, we have signed Armando Broja on loan and we need to take a look at him, this seems the perfect opportunity and i would also expect Nathan Tella to be alongside him.
There is plenty of scope here for change from the bench should we need to it is just a case of how much youth Ralph wants to use and whom he thinks will be best to be alongside them.
Newport County will be no push overs, they have had some good runs in the cup competitions in recent years and last season only went out on penalties away to Newcastle United in the Carabao cup and in the FA Cup at home to Brighton they again drew and the Seagulls needed penalties, in this round there will be no extra time and the game will go straight to penalties if the scores are level after 90 minutes.
The Exiles as Newport are known due to their sojourn in England after their reformation in 1989 have made a good start to the League Two season so far, beating Swansea 2-0 in the opening round of the Carabao cup and winning 2 out of three league fixtures.
But will this be a Cup tie atmosphere and will the Rodney Parade Roar be prevalent.
The early signs are that the tie hasn't caught the imagination of the Newport public, this morning around two blocks of seats remain unsold although it is unclear how many terrace tickets have been sold.
It is an open ground at both ends and also being home to the Town's Rugby team there is a big gap behind each goal to the terracing.
This doesn't make it a small enclosed stadium and therefore easy to make a lot of noise that reverberates.
Saints have sold their allocation of 1,000 so will have fair percentage of the crowd who will make some noise.
If we want to be pedantic then this is the first meeting between the sides given that this is the phoenix club that rose from the ashes of the old Newport County FC , but we have played the old Newport County more often that you would think.
In the League we have met them on 20 occasions winning 12, drawing 5 and losing only 3, most of those games were in the period after the 2nd World War the last being in 1960/61 when we were promoted from the old Third Division to the Second.
However the following season we met them in our first ever Football League Cup game, drawing 2-2 at Newport followed by the same score at the Dell in the replay, we won the toss for the second replay and this time made no mistake beating them 5-3.
We met them in the FA Cup in season 1967/68 when they travelled to the Dell for a third round game in front of 23,789, a time when FA Cup games would attract bigger gates than League games.
The score was 1-1 when a 60th minute penalty gave the visitors a 1-1 draw after Frank Saul had opened the scoring early doors.
17,600 packed into Somerton park for the replay but Frank Saul and John Sydenham gave Saints a half time lead, but the Welsh side rallied and were level within 10 minutes of the restart, a mass pitch invasion in celebration of both goals bringing tannoy announcements that the game would be abandoned if it happened again.
Saints were on the rack, but they rallied and Mike Channon scored what would turn out to be the winner in the 69th minute.
Saints need to win this game today to show that they have the squad to succeed in the Premier League, Sunday against Manchester United showed that we have fighting spirit, but that will mean nothing if we don't build on that result be beating Newport and then repeating the feat against Newcastle on Saturday.
Photo: Action Images
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When Saturday Comes #6 by wessex_exile
After over a month of absence, the U’s finally make a welcome return to the JobServe for a home league fixture. Sutton seem to have quickly got over their Covid-19/ injury crisis/ international call-up woes, fielding a team the following Tuesday that was strong enough to push Cardiff City hard in a narrow 3-2 defeat to the Championship side. But enough of that, I haven’t seen the outcome of the EFL investigation, but I don’t doubt the decision has either already been or will be rubber-stamped. Gamesmanship – maybe, but I hope at least the EFL are now a bit more alert to the fact that some might think they can treat them like chumps when it suits their purpose? Still – it’s great to be back home isn’t it!
When Saturday Comes #5 by wessex_exile
“Well, I can tell u my son was stood nearer the back of the Holker Street end and although he couldn't see who was responsible, he was disgusted and was very clear in telling me that the 'N' word was used by someone stood directly behind the goal nearer the front. I'm sick of hearing this, no one but the player being abused heard anything so maybe he was mistaken crap. This shite still exists despite everything that the authorities try to do because unfortunately there are still racists in every, city, town, village and hamlet in this country. [SwearFilter] scum of the earth.”
When Saturday Comes #4 by wessex_exile
I start with an apology for the no-show last weekend, but for all the right reasons. My nephew and his fiancé finally managed to tie the knot on Friday, at the fifth time of asking (previous four attempts falling foul of covid restrictions unfortunately). It was a fantastic afternoon and evening over in Essex, but meant it just wasn’t possible to get a blog produced. A significant proportion of the wedding party were U’s supporters, including the groom, but any thought of live-streaming the Rochdale game at the evening celebration might have resulted in the fastest divorce on record, so we contented ourselves with surreptitious glances at the BBC Sports updates – and what an own goal it was! Different circumstances, but I was (painfully) reminded of Aidan and Kevin’s howler at Blackburn – golden rule, never, ever pass the ball directly towards your own goal.
When Saturday Comes #3 by wessex_exile
The goalless U’s have eventually got that monkey off their backs, with the Frank and Freddie show combining to win a somewhat dubious penalty, in the 5th minute of injury time, allowing Freddie to get his new goal account at the U’s off and running (all in all he now has 37 goals, five of them penalties). It was tight though, and on another day the goalkeeper would have got a hand to it, but they all count, whether it’s a 25 yard peach or one off the arse. Everyone has rightly said that without doubt Mansfield were the best side we’ve faced so far – I’ll go so far as to say they’ll probably be one of the best sides we face all season. Though it wasn’t comfortable viewing at the time, some of their passing and movement, particularly on the break, was breath-taking at times. But enough of the love-in, however good they were, the U’s stood up to them, kept them out for the most part, and eventually got the point we deserved.
When Saturday Comes #2 by wessex_exile
Two games into the season, and although still goalless, it has been a reasonably promising start for the U’s. A tough opening day fixture away at Carlisle, and in front of a bumper crowd which delayed kick-off by 15 minutes, the U’s were largely resolute in defence, whilst still creating enough chances to have won the game if our finishing had been sharper. To be fair though, were it not for prodigal son Shamal George making his return to Brunton Park, we could just have easily lost – a performance which rightly earned him the Man of the Match award. Midweek at Championship club Birmingham City in the Carabao Cup was an even more spirited performance, and one which really should have seen the U’s victorious, but if you don’t take your chances you will get punished, and we did in the 75th minute. Much has been said about the opposition being a second (third?) string side, and with players taking the field with squad numbers in the 50s, that can’t be disputed. But, when you’re facing a team that actually has squad numbers in the 50s, you realise just how big a club our opposition was.
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