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19 January 2021 Venue Jonny-Rocks Stadium Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Preview: Newport County AFC

19 January 2021

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It's a top six in League Two encounter at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium tonight as Cheltenham Town play host to Newport County AFC (kick-off: 7pm).

Two sides enjoying good seasons in the division meet this evening under the lights in what is being billed as a tight encounter between two similar sides.

Newport are second in the table having enjoyed another excellent campaign at this level so far, while Cheltenham, who are sixth, are three points behind this evening's Welsh visitors.

The match is available to watch in full online this evening if you purchase a match pass on iFollow.

Team news

Michael Duff is still expected to be missing Liam Sercombe, Chris Hussey and Scott Flinders from tonight's squad.

Tahvon Campbell's loan to FC Halifax Town rules him out, while there may be a place in the squad again for Sean Long after his first appearance on return from injury at Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.

Watch Michael Duff's pre-match press conference online ahead of the match.

Opposition

Going into the game Newport County are without a win in five League Two matches, while in that run they also took Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion all the way to penalty kicks in the FA Cup third round.

Despite not winning recently they still occupy second position and an automatic promotion spot after a superb campaign so far, boosted by an excellent start that saw them win eight of their first ten league games.

In goal Tom King has recently returned to the team after a good performance against Brighton. Nick Townsend had been their regular stopper for most of the campaign till late.

Brandon Cooper's loan spell coming to an end and returning to Swansea City has been a blow, but they still include the experience of Mickey Demetriou in their back line, with the likes of verstaile Scot Bennett and former Peterborough United man Liam Shephard adding quality.

In midfield they will miss the presence of Josh Sheehan this evening after he was red carded in their weekend draw with Salford City.

But despite that former Cheltenham loanee Joss Labadie brings good leadership in the middle of the park with Irishman Jamie Devitt bringing good quality on loan from League One Blackpool.

Their attack boasts the physical presence of Ryan Taylor and experience of both Padraig Amond and Kevin Ellision, while Tristan Abrahams and West Brom loanee Owen Windsor, who scored for Grimsby at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium earlier in the season, add to a number of attack minded options at the top of the pitch.

The manager: Michael Flynn

A four time former player, a former academy manager and now first team manager since March 2017, Newport County have enjoyed some brilliant times under the guidance of boss Michael Flynn.

Assisted by his number two Wayne Hatswell, the 40-year-old has caught the eye as one of the Football League's brightest young managers since he took charge in south Wales.

In his playing days after starting at Newport he also represented the likes of Wigan Athletic, Barry Town, Gillingham, Blackpool and Bradford City until he returned to Wales to end his time playing in Welsh non-league football with Undy Athletic before he re-joined the set-up at Rodney Parade.

One to watch: Mickey Demetriou

Over the past few seasons Mickey Demetriou has played a significant role in the success Newport have enjoyed in League Two and in their noteworthy FA Cup runs.

The 30-year-old brings good experience to their set-up and is an established member of their squad who joined on a free transfer in January 2017 having left Shrewsbury Town in 2016 with an injury.

He has risen from non-league to play in the Football League, beginning his career with Worthing and Bognor Regis Town, where after a spell playing in Spain, he featured for Eastbourne Borough before making a big impression at National League standard with Kidderminster Harriers over three years.

Match programme

Copies of tonight's match programme are available to purchase from the club's online shop.

Alex Addai is the big interview as he looks back on his loan stint at Maidenhead United and his return to Cheltenham and what he is hoping to bring to the side in the second half of the campaign.

Also featured are Josh Griffiths, Michael Duff, under-18s boss Pete Haynes as well as plenty on the night's opposition.

A print copy is on sale for £2.50 and can be ordered online, while a digital download version is available for £2 online too.

Watch the match on iFollow

The game is available to watch in full this evening online on the club's iFollow channel.

To watch, subscribe to purchase a match pass and then enjoy the game from home. A match pass is available for £10.

Coverage

Twitter is the best place to keep up to date with regular updates of tonight's match. Follow @CTFCofficial for all the build up, team news, match updates and live photos from the game.

There will also be score updates available on the club's Facebook page and Instagram account.

Following the full time whistle you can read a match report on the club website, while there will be the post-game thoughts of manager Michael Duff available to view too.

Extended highlights will be available to watch on iFollow.

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Match Reports

Report & highlights: Robins 1-1 Newport County AFC

19 January 2021

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Promotion rivals Cheltenham Town and Newport County shared the points on a blustery night at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.

Once again Cheltenham created the lion's share of chance on the night but could only muster one goal, taken by Matty Blair deep into first half injury time.

The visitors had taken an early lead thanks to a freak goal when Tom King's goal kick took flight, bounced on the edge of the box and cleared Josh Griffiths.

What's more ironic is that the Cheltenham number one didn't have to make a save over the course of 90 minutes, leaving Michael Duff frustrated at the final whistle.

His side are now winless in seven in League One but despite the indifferent run of form, the Robins remain four points off the summit and right in the mix.

"It's two points dropped because we dominated the opposition, especially first half," he said after the game.

"Their only shot on target was a goal kick.

"It was a freak incident. We have defended really well and conceded a freak goal.

"People can say we've dropped points, and we have, but it's the same in all the leagues and it's the times we're living in. It's hard."

He made two changes to the side that was pegged back in Bolton four days ago. Chris Hussey returned after missing the game with a knock, replacing Lewis Freestone but unfortunately for the wing back, he limped out of the game shortly after the half-hour mark (with Chris Clements taking his place). Andy Williams made way for George Lloyd in attack.

They started well enough. There was a great chance for Will Boyle as early as the fourth minute but he missed the target with a header while Hussey tried his luck from the edge of the box with his unfavoured right foot but the chance flew past the right post.

But the visitors took the lead with 11 minutes on the clock through the Newport number one, who took a goal kick from inside his own six-yard area. It seemingly caught the wind, dropping between the two centre halves on the edge of their box and bounced over Griffiths.

Moments later Lloyd created a chance for Alfie May, who called King into a flying stop with an acrobatic effort from 16 yards. He then tipped away a fizzing effort by Finn Azaz as frustration began to creep into their play.

But they were rewarded on the stroke of half-time when Blair raced onto May's ball, burst into the area and fired an effort across King and inside the left upright. The goalkeeper got a hand to it, but he couldn't stop it.

The second half was an attritional affair with neither side really testing a goalkeeper until the closing stages. Ellis Chapman fired a free-kick well over and there was a well worked move by Newport down the right, but Raglan did well to clear the ball with Liam Shepherd lurking in the box. There was a couple of late half chances for Alfie May but neither tested King, and the game ended in a disappointing stalemate.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Griffiths; Raglan, Tozer (c), Boyle; Blair, Thomas, Azaz (Williams 84), Chapman, Hussey (Clements 32); May, Lloyd (Addai 76). Subs not used: Long, Bowry, Harris (Gk), Chamberlain.

NEWPORT COUNTY (3-5-2): King; Longe-King, Dolan, Demetriou; Shepherd, Willmott (Abrahams 67), Labadie, Bennett, Haynes; Scrimshaw (Windsor 67), Amond (Taylor 67). Subs not used: Baker, Collins, Evans, Townsend (Gk).

REFEREE: P Wright

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