Ahead of this weekend’s trip to Newport County, we spoke to Newport fan page Exiles Fanalytics to get a better understanding of Saturday’s opponents.
First of all, how did you get into supporting Newport?
I started watching Newport because if they got promoted in the 2012/13 season, they would be included in the EA Sports’ FIFA 14 release. At the time I was a data reviewer for the game, but due to my location I was gifted with owning them (amongst other teams) as a data editor – which meant I had to learn a lot pretty fast. So, my first game was the play-off win against Grimsby and now 6 years on my son and me have been season tickets holders for 5 seasons.
Are there any new signings at Newport people should be looking out for?
There’s plenty to be fair, but I’m particularly excited about seeing Corey Whitley this season. He looks to have fantastic technical ability, and runs at defenders – I think County have been missing this for a few seasons, aside from having Antoine Semenyo on loan. I think if he breaks in to the starting line-up team he could bring a very different dynamic.
After a fantastic run to the play-off final last season, is the goal to go one better this time around? Or does this feel more like it’ll be a season of consolidation?
I thought it may be a season of consolidation as I didn’t think we would be able to keep hold of the likes of Demetriou and Labadie. But having only lost 2 (Butler, Day) from potentially several key players I am far more optimistic. I think the play-offs are attainable, I think automatic promotion could be beyond us with the comparative quality in the league this season. That’s not to say it’s impossible!
Jamille Matt is remembered fondly by many Argyle fans despite his loan spell at the end of the 2015/16 season being brief. How important has he been since signing for the Exiles last summer?
He was the signing of the season last term. He is the polar opposite of Amond. For a striker he doesn’t get that many shots off, but the shots he has are from very good positions and he was clinical last season. His hold up play is brilliant, he could be criticised for losing the ball often, but when you receive the ball as often as he does, especially in the air, you are going to lose it, but on the balance of things he was Newport’s choice outlet last season.
What sort of tactical style do you expect to set up with on Saturday?
I’ve not watched Plymouth yet so it’s hard to say whether we change it, but I imagine we’ll stay with a 4-4-2 midfield diamond. Sheehan will drop deep between the centre backs to collect and distribute the ball to either flank. There has been a tendency to focus attacks down the right flank so far. Set-pieces will be key for County.
And are there any real weak links in the side you’re worried about?
We don’t defend set-pieces very well, it’s been an Achilles heel for years. We do have a very new defence to bed in so maybe this can change. We did however concede a poor goal from a set-piece against Mansfield on the opening day.
What first comes to mind when you think of Plymouth Argyle?
Danny Mayor – what a player!
Which Argyle player, if any, would you like to sign?
Danny Mayor, obviously…
Do you have any predictions for League Two in general this year?
I have no firm expectations to be honest, other than it could be a very, very, competitive season with a few surprises outside of the bookies’ favourites.
And finally, what is your prediction for the game itself?
Newport don’t concede that many at home, and they don’t score an awful lot either. A 0-0 or a 2-2 wouldn’t surprise me – anything other than a repeat of the 1-3 defeat in 2016 when Day got sent off and you had 2 penalties, that was sickening.