Newport County vs Accrington Stanley | Rodney Parade | 7.45pm | Sky Bet League Two
League leaders Accrington Stanley visit Rodney Parade in South Wales this evening to take on a Newport County side 14th in the table. The Reds know that they will become champions of Sky Bet League Two should they avoid defeat.
John Coleman’s side silenced any lingering doubts about their desire to finish top of the league after their thumping 4-0 win at Wycombe last Saturday and go into tonight’s game full of confidence.
Newport began 2018 with three league wins in a row but have won just twice in 14 matches since.
The Exiles will be looking to bounce back in the first of their four remaining fixtures this season, after a disappointing 2-0 defeat against relegation threatened Barnet at the weekend.
Stanley don’t have the greatest of records against tonight’s hosts, beating them just once in nine attempts – goals from Billy Kee and Josh Windass securing a 2-0 win at Newport in March 2016.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match:
Stanley wins – 1
Games drawn – 4
Newport wins – 4
Last Time We Met
Mallik Wilks came off the bench to earn Stanley a share of the spoils when the sides played out a 1-1 draw at the Wham Stadium last November.
Frank Nouble’s strike three minutes into the second half had given Newport the lead, and despite being put under relentless pressure as the Reds searched for a leveller, the visitors looked like they would take all three points.
Leeds-loanee Wilks was introduced with 10 minutes to go, with Stanley camped outside the Exiles penalty area. In the 88th minute, there was a scramble in the box. Kee was brought down, Mekhi McLeod then saw a shot blocked, before the ball finally fell to Wilks to thunder his effort through a sea of bodies and into the net.
The Manager – Michael Flynn
Michael Flynn was born in Newport and has a long history with his hometown club after coming through the academy there.
Flynn made four separate debuts for the Exiles during his 17-year playing career, before being named as caretaker manager in March 2017.
He saved the club from almost certain relegation and preserved Newport’s Football League status last season. He was given the job permanently in May 2017 and led the club to the Fourth Round of the FA Cup for the first time since 1979.
One to Watch – Padraig Amond
Former Accrington striker Padraig Amond is County’s top scorer this campaign, having scored 11 goals in League Two since joining Newport in the summer of 2017.
‘Podge’ began his career in his native Ireland, at hometown club Shamrock Rovers, before moving to Portugal to play for Pacos de Ferreira, but never made a first-team start for them during his brief time there.
Amond subsequently joined Stanley on loan in 2011, making the move to England permanent the following year. He would go on to play for Morecambe, Grimsby and Hartlepool before moving to the South Wales outfit last summer.
Man in the Middle – Lee Swabey
Mr Swabey has taken charge of 17 games this season, showing 54 yellow cards and just the one red.
This is his third full season as a Football League referee, though he has yet to oversee a Stanley game in this campaign.
He has officiated just three matches involving Accrington in his career and has shown a red card in all three.
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