Newport County v Tranmere Rovers – Match preview
Saturday 17th October 2020
It’s that time of the week again, it’s time to get excited. The weekend is looming, Tranmere travel across the border as they head to South Wales to face Newport County at their Rodney Parade stadium. The last time the two clubs met was at Wembley in the 2019 league two play off final, Tranmere won in the final minute of added time with a header from Connor Jennings to confirm promotion to league one, this game is in a much earlier stage of the season yet promotion is in the minds of both teams and that is why we should be excited. It has been a successful week for Mike Jackson’s ‘superwhites’, last weekend saw a draw against Salford City with a comeback in the final minutes. Midweek saw two more disagreements with the EFL, a young midfield signing from the North East and another week of training. With the EFL; they claimed that we had lied about being unsure on whether or not we would have action taken against us if we postponed the game due to having many players out due to COVID. However, their statement just proved that they are a confusing organization. As Well as this, club owner Mark Palios’ views differed from Rick Parry’s as he stated his anger towards ‘Project big picture’ which would see ‘elite clubs take power for the sake of giving money to those through the EFL who have less’. The new recruit for midfield was announced on Wednesday, 19-year-old Newcastle United under 21s captain would join Tranmere on a loan until the end of the season. This has been claimed by those with knowledge on the midfielder as a signing which should be successful for the Rovers, the youngster having extremely good ball retention and wanting to spread the ball across the pitch into mostly progressive areas. He has made the Newcastle senior bench for Premier League encounters against Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool thus he is highly rated and it will be interesting to see his quality at league two level.
Throughout the rest of the team, there is a mixture of good and bad news relating to those who are available for selection and those who aren’t. A few, who weren’t available for last week’s draw against Salford City due to the COVID pandemic are now available for selection. However, there are also a few who remain isolated away from their team-mates and there are also a few who remain unavailable due to injury. Through the manager’s pre-match meeting with the press there weren’t many names mentioned, this has probably been done so the opposition are unable to guess how the whites’ eleven will look. Stefan Payne is certainly unavailable though as he was pictured, on his social media account, in a hospital bed possibly waiting for surgery on a groin injury which I believe was sustained in the encounter with Scunthorpe United at Prenton Park. On a positive note, one of the star men in the last performance, Kaiyne Woolery was only at 50% and he stated this on his social media accounts. This week has given the forward time to become nearer to that 100% so if selected Tranmere have a man on their books that will cause great problems to Newport’s back-line. Those who I stated had minor injuries last week may be available for selection this weekend, they will have certainly come closer to return.
Newport County are this Saturday’s hosts, as Mike Jackson’s ‘super whites’ travel to South Wales. So far this league two campaign, Mike Flynn’s ‘Exiles’ have played five and won three league two fixtures. They have also picked up a draw. They have beaten: Barrow, Bolton and Mansfield. Picked up a point against Scunthorpe United and lost away at Cambridge United as former Tranmere striker scored another two goals last weekend. Thus, they have had a great start to the league campaign and they will be hoping to continue that into their sixth league fixture. Aside from the league fixtures, they have had a strong league cup run; reaching the fourth round following wins against Swansea, Cambridge and Watford but Newcastle were able to get past them in the fourth round after a successful penalty shootout. A certain one to watch is youngster Tristan Abrahams. The 21-year-old striker has so far scored two goals in the league, yet through all competitions he has netted six goals in the nine that he has played in. He is certainly an exciting prospect with a good future ahead of him yet for this weekend his aim is to get past a very strong Tranmere defence. Last season, Newport finished in a poor position of 14th and reached the semi-final of the EFL Trophy. This summer, the aim was to recruit players that would see Newport have a greater campaign. Defence was addressed with the signings of: Scot Bennett, David Longe-King and Liam Shephard all joining on free transfers. Brandon Cooper and Bradley Webb coming to South Wales on a loan deal. To address any goal scoring issues: Ryan Taylor and former Tranmere veteran forward Kevin Ellison came in on free transfers. Saikou Jenneh, Scott Twine and Jamie Devitt came in on loan. Thus, the ‘Exiles’ should be able to have a successful season ahead.
Tranmere’s record against Newport is a mixed one. It is one that shows there isn’t much between the two clubs and it is one which shows that it is impossible to predict a winner for this weekend despite all the positivity between the two clubs squads.
There have been 27 meetings so far between Newport County and Tranmere Rovers.
Tranmere wins – 11
Draws – 7
Newport wins – 9
Quotes from manager Mike Jackson’s pre-match meeting with the press:
On new signing, Jack Young – ‘The thing I like about him the most is that he likes to play forward and create; he’s not a midfield player who just passes back and square. He will be a great acquisition’
On team news and the training schedule – ‘We’ve not been able to train the way we’d like to, but we’ve adapted to that. When you’ve come back from COVID, you can’t start training straight away as there is a four or five-day protocol before you can start training properly. If you look at the teams that we’ve been able to field so far since we started the season, we’ve not had a chance to actually put a proper starting eleven out. This team has resilience about them and they have had to face many differently difficult circumstances’
On this weekend’s hosts, Newport County – ‘It is always a tough place to go. I know their manager really well and I used to play with him at Blackpool. You’ve got to be physically and mentally prepared when you go to them. It’s going to be a tough game but a great challenge. It’s the sort of games that as a player and manager you want to be going into, you have to take the challenge on’.