By Thomas Reynolds
Last Updated: 15th February 2019
Having seen them triumph by humbling margins in their last two meaningful cup ties against lower-league foes, Manchester City’s fifth round FA Cup opponents Newport could be forgiven for fearing a thrashing.
Rotherham were crushed 7-0 at the Etihad in round three, before their two-legged League Cup semi-final with Burton was decided a game early courtesy of a 9-0 landslide.
However, despite the League Two side being 28/1 match-betting underdogs ahead of this encounter, several factors suggest they can avoid the kind of stuffing normally reserved for Sunday lunch, mattresses or beloved deceased pets.
The Newport vs Manchester City numbers
6 – City haven’t bagged more than two in their last six away FA Cup ties with lower-division hosts
Pep Guardiola’s side racked up their last two cup cricket scores on home turf, but they’ve been rather less prolific in stomping their divisional inferiors on the road.
Dating back to 2011, the Etihad outfit have failed to put three past Leicester, Notts County, Blackburn Rovers, Huddersfield, Cardiff City and Wigan Athletic on away days in the competition.
4 – Days until City’s round-of-16 Champions League trip to Schalke
The temptation to rest key players ahead of busy week is likely to be all consuming for Guardiola.
Not only do the Mancunians have a midweek trip to Gelsenkirchen ahead of them, but the EFL Cup Final against Chelsea at Wembley four days later as well.
3 – Newport have conceded only three goals in their last four home FA Cup ties with higher-division foes
Rodney Parade ain’t no goal(d)mine for visiting aristocracy either, with most recent upper crust victims Middlesbrough sent packing without sullying south-Walian sheets.
Spurs came within nine minutes of exiting the competition at the ground last season, while Leicester and Leeds have also left having bagged only once over the course of the last two campaigns.
2 – The Exiles share Rodney Parade with not one but two Rugby Clubs
Newport will also benefit from the class-deficit-reducing qualities of their notoriously un-carpet-like home turf, which they share with divot-donating rugby relatives Dragons and Newport RFC.