Cup games hold special memories in recent years for Newport. In the 2018 FA Cup Leeds United were beaten at Rodney Parade, before Tottenham were held in the next round. In 2019 Leicester City were beaten 2-1 in the FA Cup third round. After a draw at the Riverside, Middlesbrough were knocked out by two goals to nil. Manchester City were the next visitors to South Wales, but County fell to a 4-1 loss.
Newport have been at the giant killing act again this season in the EFL cup. Swansea and Watford have both lost to Newport, while Newcastle needed penalties to get past the League Two side.
Salford are looking to make the FA Cup third round for the first time. Its only the second time City have made the second round after being knocked out by Hartlepool in a replay in 2016.
This all League affair sees leaders Newport play 7th placed Salford for a place in the hat for round three. Newport beat Leyton Orient by 2-1 in Round One away. While Salford needed extra-time to beat Hartlepool by two goals to nil.
Newport have lost just one of their last eight league games. Their last match was a 1-1 draw with Walsall both goals coming in the first half. Prior to this they won 1-0 against Port Vale with a 96 minute winner from 41 year old Kevin Ellison.
Salford, meanwhile, head to south Wales on the back of two wins. A first half blitz saw a 3-0 win over Bradford City. Two late first half goals from Ashley Hunter was enough for a 2-1 over Morecambe.
Newport boss Mike Flynn is hoping that his side’s cup runs won’t impact their league form as they have in past seasons:
“It’s going to be hectic and hopefully we come through unscathed with a lot of points and the third round of the FA Cup to look forward to.
“It’s always tough at this level and Lennie Lawrence (former County management consultant) would always say that cup success means league failure.
“I didn’t believe him at first but the more we did that, the more it happened. We’ve got a better squad this season so I am hoping that we might get away with both.“
“Looking back it did affect our league form, 100 percent. It’s the injuries we picked up, the travelling, the excitement around the big games.”
“They have an unbelievable squad for this level and have spent big to bring in quality. They should be one of the favourites for the league, quite comfortably really.
“They will be a handful because they have pace, creativity, solid defenders. They have a big squad to choose from and there are players there who are on a fortune.”
Salford manager Richie Wellens also spoke ahead of the game saying it’s likely there’ll be changes to the side given the hectic schedule:
“I think with the games we’ve got coming up, we’ve got two away games after this against Carlisle and Barrow, and especially with a Wednesday-Saturday, which is not ideal if I’m being honest, it gives us an opportunity to give a few of the lads who played in the last game at Rochdale an opportunity to play while some of our experienced players we’re trying to look further down the line and we’ll make sure we’ll give them a little bit of a rest this weekend.
“It means we can get home quicker so in terms of when the players are having their evening meal and are going back to bed they can, it’s not really changing their body clock.
“We’ll give the young players a chance to improve in a bit more of a competitive environment than Rochdale was and then it’s up to the young players to take their chance. Irrespective of what team Newport pick I’m looking to get a good performance from them and get to the third round.”
For County Josh Sheehan can pull the strings in the midfield. Having a Whoscored.com pass completion of 83.1%. the midfielders good performances for Newport have not gone unnoticed as he was called up to the Wales squad for the last international window. He made his debut as a half time sub against the USA. He has also got one goal so far this season.
Salford forward James Wilson is the highest rated Salford player on Whoscored.com with an overall rating of 7.3. With five goals from his 12 appearances this season. Starting in the last round it’s likely he’ll be called on for the visit to Newport.
Prediction; Newport County 2-1 Salford City
Even without the fans Rodney Parade is a fortress for Newport especially in Cup games. Newport will be out to win this to set up a possible big FA Cup tie in South Wales once again.