by Dan Cope
NEWPORT County get their FA Cup campaign underway with a trip to Blundell Park to take on fellow League Two side Grimsby Town.
The Exiles will be hoping to forge another memorable cup run after their remarkable adventure last season which saw them defeat Middlesbrough and conquer Premier League side Leicester City at Rodney Parade before being knocked out by Premier League champions Manchester City in the fifth round.
Grimsby have only reached the third round of the prestigious competition in the last five seasons. The Mariners secured victories against MK Dons and Macclesfield Town before losing out to Crystal Palace in the third round thanks to a late Jordan Ayew goal last season.
The last time the two sides met, Michael Jolley’s men strolled to a 3-0 victory over County at Blundell Park in February thanks to a double from Jordan Cook and an own goal from Mickey Demetriou.
Michael Flynn will be without Demetriou as he continues to recover from a broken leg and fellow long term absentee Ade Azeez will also miss out with an Achilles injury. Town also have injury concerns going into this fixture with defender Luke Hendrie and midfielder Max Wright facing late fitness tests.
Speaking ahead of the match, Flynn realises just how “big” the FA Cup is to Newport County.
Flynn said: “…It’s a cup competition that is big for the football club. It has brought us some special memories and I want to bring us some more.”
Grimsby will face a tough test against promotion contenders Newport and Jolley is aware of the challenge is side face.
He said: “I expect it to be a tough game, but a good game between two good teams.”
Jolley added: “We need to get on the front foot early. An area where we need to do better is scoring first when we’re at home, because most in of our home league matches, we’ve been chasing the game.”
Jolley also hopes his side can draw inspiration from their 3-1 first round victory over MK Dons last season.
He said: “We know it’s going to be a tough game, but I remember this time last year, we played MK Dons in the first round of the FA Cup, and we did well in that game. So we’ve got a similar mindset that we’re welcoming one of the better teams in our league, but we want to try and take the challenge on.”
Kick Off: 3:00pm