ewport County will take a welcome break from their wimpering league exploits as they face Premier league Leicester City at Rodney Parade in Round Three of this year's Emirates FA Cup.
County's form has certainly faltered over the busy Christmas period. Having taken just one point from a possible 15, the home side will see this game as an opportunity to showcase what they can really do against opposition of top-level calibre.
Speaking ahead of the game, manager Mike Flynn called the fixture "a huge game" and "a free hit." When talking about his side's chances, he continued, "Nobody's really expecting us to win, but nobody expected us to get anything against Spurs last year; or Leeds come to think of it. It's exciting; hopefully the boys can go out there and show them what they can do."
County have received good news this week; the biggest being top scorer Padraig Amond triggering a one-year extension in his contract. Flynn said of the Irishman, 30, "I think it's great news for the football club; I'm very pleased he's triggered his deal. He's an outstanding professional." Additionally, the club announced the arrival of 19 year-old left back Vashon Neufville from West Ham United.
The magnitude of the task at hand is not lost on the management, however. Flynn remained grounded about the gulf between the sides, stating, "Leicester won the Premier League a couple of years ago, let's not forget that. They've just beaten Man City and Chelsea so it's going to be difficult."
Joss Labadie will miss out on this game as he continues to recover from the injury he sustained against Forest Green on Boxing Day, Dan Butler is suspended and his would-be replacement Cameron Pring has left the club upon the end of his loan agreement.
Leicester City are likely to rest a number of bigger names as they continue to chase as higher position as possible in the league. Flynn joked, "I hope they do! Let's not dress it up, we need them to rest a few but whoever comes in, they're going to have quality." This was a tactic they chose to employ in the Carabao Cup tie against Manchester City recently, in which they gave the league champions a stern test so will almost certainly be looking to dominate at Rodney Parade.
So we have another Cup run and another third round tie against higher opopsition. It was fantastic for the club last season, both on the pitch and off. Can this season's group repeat last season's feat? Probably not, but let's dare to dream.
Prediction: Newport County 1-1 Leicester City