ewport County get back to League Two proceedings tomorrow as they play host to Cambridge United at Rodney Parade, looking to ensure their previous home EFL result remains a distant memory. Mike Flynn leads his side back into League Two action on the back of a pair of clean-sheet victories and against Tranmere Rovers and Chelsea’s Under 21 side respectively – and will be eager to extend the run further, thus gaining momentum ahead of the home meeting with Macclesfield Town on Tuesday night.
This will be the second meeting between County and Cambridge already this season; the previous encounter taking place in front of just over 1600 people at the Abbey Stadium in August, where the Exiles ran out comfortable 4-1 winners. Yet manager Mike Flynn remains realistic, “It doesn’t count for nothing; they’ll be looking for a win and so will we so it depends who turns up on the day, makes the least errors and who puts the ball in the back of the net.”
Flynn was full of praise for those that played in midweek, “A lot of them did well on Tuesday; it was a big step up for a number of them. It was very pleasing for me to come through with no injuries so it was a good night.”
County made nine changes for 3-0 victory over the talented Blues’ youngsters on Tuesday night; Tyler Forbes and Mark O’Brien being the only survivors from the win on Merseyside last weekend. Flynn said, “It was a chance to get some minutes into players that needed it and not only was it a good thing they played but it was nice for a few of them to have a win as well; it gives them a boost, gets their confidence up.”
With three fixtures in eight days, it is possible that some of the fringe players may have an important part to play. Jamille Matt, having bagged a brace in midweek, will fancy his chances at getting a league start. The former Blackpool man said, “I’d like to play on Saturday; I want to play. If the gaffer doesn’t choose me, then I’m happy to support the squad. We need everyone together; that’s what’s getting us results so we’ve got to continue to buy into that.”
One more player who will hope for more minutes is Antoine Semenyo; the Bristol City loanee has looked impressive when his services have been called upon, causing defences plenty of issues with his pace and trickery. He has generally missed out through illness in recent games but his performance off the bench, capped off with a very good finish to round off the scoring on Tuesday night, will certainly have him knocking on the managers door.
On his striking options, Flynn continued by saying, “It’s nice for Jamma to score goals; he’s almost hit his target from last season. It gets his confidence up and with Antoine coming on, Padraig and Sparky (Mark Harris), it’s good competition and it definitely gives me a selection headache.”
Joe Dunne’s Cambridge side come to Rodney Parade struggling for form, having not mustered a victory in any of their last four matches (including one EFL trophy match), since a 1-0 away victory at Stevenage. The run has seen them floundering somewhat in 19th position in the table with only two wins to their credit all season. The U’s main issue to date is the lack of goals in their ranks; they have notched up only ten all season, half of which have been scored by just two players – Adebayo Azeez and George Maris.
The draw last time out away to Mansfield Town will have come as some relief after three straight defeats, but all signs point to another victory for County an extension to their stay in the top three of the league table.
Prediction: Newport County 2-0 Cambridge United
I will be live-tweeting the game tomorrow; keep an eye on @DanielFrazer7 for updates, opinions and general commentary on all things Amber!