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County aim to use expectant crowd against Bantams in bid for first league win

·3-min read
PRESS: Robbie WIllmott and Scot Bennett on the hunt for County at Bradford last season
PRESS: Robbie WIllmott and Scot Bennett on the hunt for County at Bradford last season

NEWPORT County AFC hunt a first League Two win of the season at Bradford City this afternoon.

The Exiles are on a high after their midweek 3-2 Carabao Cup win at Luton when they stunned the Championship side thanks to goals by Lewis Collins, Chanka Zimba and James Waite.

County face one of the pre-season favourites for promotion in Yorkshire, here are the talking points ahead of the clash at Valley Parade…

HEADACHES

Will manager James Rowberry complete a hat-trick by sticking with the team that went up against Sutton and Walsall or have the midweek starters forced their way in?

One imagines that there will not be dramatic changes – if any changes at all – despite a number of strong performances at Kenilworth Road.

Waite is the leading candidate after an energetic display that was capped by the winner with Aaron Wildig his rival for an attacking midfield spot.

Liverpool loanee Adam Lewis did well on his first start but Will Evans is in pole position down the left while Aaron Lewis' ability means that the option of shifting Cam Norman from right-back to central defence is always an option.

Rotation will be needed this season and it will be a squad effort over the coming days given that Salford come to Newport on Tuesday.

South Wales Argus: WINNER: James Waite struck for County at Luton
South Wales Argus: WINNER: James Waite struck for County at Luton

WINNER: James Waite struck for County at Luton

CUP BOOSTS

County head to Yorkshire buoyed by their 3-2 win at Luton but Bradford also got a lift from stunning Championship opposition.

The Bantams recorded their first success of the season after they came from behind to beat Hull 2-1 with Andy Cook scoring twice.

Their reward is a home clash with boss Mark Hughes' former side Blackburn.

Bradford started the season with a frustrating 0-0 draw with 10-man Doncaster, when they fired in 22 shots, and then they lost a dramatic game at Barrow when Cook made it 2-2 in added time only for the hosts to then win it.

WELSH HAT-TRICK

County lost to Pill's Michael Flynn and Walsall last weekend, beat Blaenrhondda's Nathan Jones in Luton on Tuesday and now go up against Ruabon's Hughes at Valley Parade.

The Wales legend was appointed last February and his appointment seems to have given the Yorkshire club purpose, direction and optimism after the ill-fated spell of Derek Adams.

Bradford haven't flown out of the blocks but are tipped by most to be contenders for the top three, with the presence of Hughes a big factor in that.

South Wales Argus: Mark Hughes at Valley Parade
South Wales Argus: Mark Hughes at Valley Parade

Mark Hughes at Valley Parade

RAUCOUS PARADE

A visit to Valley Parade makes it even more baffling what Bradford are doing in the fourth tier for the third season on the spin. Nailsworth, it is not.

This is a big ground and a big club.

The Bantams have sold over 14,000 season tickets after setting early bird prices of just £198 for adults and 19,368 came through the turnstiles for their opener against Doncaster.

That boisterous support should be a factor over the coming season and expect Bradford to improve on last season's home record of just 28 points (P23, W6, D10, L7), the 19th worst in the division.

If the Bantams are on the front foot – as they were for spells in the March meeting between the sides – then the noise drives them on.

County will be talking about starting well and ensuring the expectant support goes the other way because of frustration.

Fixtures: AFC Wimbledon v Doncaster, Bradford v County, Carlisle v Swindon, Harrogate v Crawley, Leyton Orient v Mansfield, Northampton v Hartlepool, Rochdale v Grimsby, Salford v Crewe, Stockport v Colchester, Sutton v Barrow, Tranmere v Gillingham, Walsall v Stevenage.