What can United expect from Newport?

Sunday 21 January 2024 09:00

Manchester United are due to travel to Rodney Parade for the very first time next weekend, as we prepare to take on Newport County in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup.

Erik ten Hag's side have so far beaten Wigan Athletic as we chase down going one better than last season's performance in the competition - losing to rivals Manchester City in the final at Wembley.

Earmarked as a potential opportunity for some of our recently absent Reds to gain valuable minutes, United will be looking to end January on a high.

The Exiles are currently 14th in League Two and recently defeated Wrexham 1-0 on Saturday.
With our trip to south Wales on the horizon, this week's The Debate panel - which included Simon Stone, Alex Bruce and Wes Brown - discussed exactly what United can expect from Graham Coughlan's side.

A sell-out crowd is expected for the fixture, one in which Coughlan has recently described as the biggest in the club's history, with close to 8,000 expected to be in attendance.

Brown, who played for United from 1996-2011, says visiting different kinds of stadiums brings a new kind of excitement in the dressing room.
"Listen, that's what the FA Cup is all about, even as players and as a player playing at Manchester United, you used to love going to these games because they're not easy," began the 44-year-old.

"Obviously you go into the game everyone thinks you're going to win, but you have to battle. You know it's not necessarily about skill and the pitches aren't great, it's about just doing better than your opponent.

"It's bobbly [the pitch], you know, a mistake there. I mean, this game for the players, is one of the biggest games, if not the biggest game of their lives, at home to Manchester United.

"You have to go out there and do a professional job. I like the match up. I think it's a great tie. Not just for us, but for them as well. Like we say, you never know what can happen in the FA Cup."

United's last five first-time cup ties


Maiden meetings with clubs in the FA Cup have been few and far between for the Reds in recent years.

Stone, senior journalist from the BBC, insists the Reds will have to be aware of the challenge County pose, especially given their recent performances against Premier League opposition.

"Well, you say United should progress and clearly they should. But the first thing you do, and I did it when we were sat here waiting for this programme, [you look at] who have Newport played recently? Have Manchester United been there?" began Stone.

"Have they beaten anybody? And they have. They beat Leicester, they beat Middlesbrough, they gave Spurs a really tough game and got a draw and went back to Tottenham, although they lost there.

"They played Man City a few years ago and it was only 2-1 with a couple of minutes left. So they have form for making it very difficult for teams that should go there and win.
"The atmosphere, even more than those games I would imagine, will be intense," added Stone. "I don't know, I've never played professional football, but I would imagine that is one of the things that you have to deal with.

"If you're not fully concentrated, you might be a fantastic footballer. But if you're not fully concentrated, ready for what's coming at you, ready for probably the referee that will allow Newport a couple of challenges that they wouldn't get away with in the Premier League.

"You have to deal with that and that's what you have to rise above to get the victories."