Marcus Braddock looks ahead to this evening pre-season game against Newport County
Last season, Michael Flynn's team won their way through to the League 2 play-off finals, only to have their hopes dashed at the very last minute (119 to be exact). We know that particular pain all too well, hopefully, as we did, County will push on for a less traumatic route to League One. On the playing side, Newport have a familiar face or two with Mickey Demitriou and Ryan Haynes both on the Welsh club's roster. Some may also remember Joss Labadie who was on loan at Montgomery Waters Meadow in 2009, scoring five times in 11 league starts. However, manager Paul Simpson sent him back to West Brom and we never saw him in amber and blue again.
County have obviously brought in other players in as well as Ryan Haynes with fellow defenders Dan Leadbitter coming in from Bristol Rovers and George Nurse coming in on loan from Bristol City. There is also Kyle Howkins from West Brom, Lazar Stojsavljevic from Millwall and Marvel Ekpiteta from Hungerford. They've also added Ebbsfleet striker Corey Whitely who's become a bit of a goal machine in the National League.
The Exiles have already played a couple of pre-season games with a Newport XI visiting Moreton-In-Marsh who they beat 1-0 away with a goal from Ryan Hillier. More recently the Newport youth team played Undy AFC who they beat 4-2.
Last seasons top scorer for Newport was Jamille Matt who joined last June from Grimsby Town. Matt bagged himself 14 league goals last season and another six in the cup competitions. He's been pretty prolific at each club he's been with.
This is likely to be an interesting game against a team who have made some good additions and will be looking forward to testing themselves against a team from a division above. County have been using the occasional triallist so we may see them do the same although I'm not sure Sam Ricketts will be following suit. It will be the first chance for Town fans to see some of our new players as they prepare for the coming season