Salford City aim to reach the Emirates FA Cup Third Round for the first time ever on Saturday when they visit Newport County.
The Ammies have only ever once been in the Second Round, back in 2015-16 when Hartlepool United were held at Moor Lane, but triumphed in the replay after extra time. Pools were the opponents in the First Round this season, when goals from Bruno Andrade and Mani Dieseruvwe in extra time earned a 2-0 win.
Now there is more of an even keel against another League Two side in Newport, although The Exiles are currently top of League Two and haven’t lost at home in the league this season.
In this continuing campaign of abnormalities, the game kicks off at the earlier time of 13:00 GMT, something which manager Richie Wellens says will help the players in a busy schedule which includes mid-week fixtures for the rest of the calendar year, except one.
“I think with the games we’ve got coming up, we’ve got two away games after this against Carlisle and Barrow, and especially with a Wednesday-Saturday, which is not ideal if I’m being honest, it gives us an opportunity to give a few of the lads who played in the last game at Rochdale an opportunity to play while some of our experienced players we’re trying to look further down the line and we’ll make sure we’ll give them a little bit of a rest this weekend.
“it means we can get home quicker so in terms of when the players are having their evening meal and are going back to bed they can, it’s not really changing their body clock.
“We’ll give the young players a chance to improve in a bit more of a competitive environment than Rochdale was and then it’s up to the young players to take their chance. Irrespective of what team Newport pick I’m looking to get a good performance from them and get to the third round.”
Salford have fond memories of South Wales from last season where we won 2-1 in Sky Bet League Two last November. That was followed by the semi-final of the EFL Trophy in February where after a 0-0 draw in normal time Salford won 5-6 on penalties to reach the still-to-be-played final.
The Exiles are a much improved side this year though, and have cup pedigree from the last few seasons.
Only once in the previous five years have they not reached the Third Round, and they have beaten the likes of Leicester City, Middlesbrough and Leeds United along the way, as well as holding Tottenham Hotspur to a draw. In 2018-19 they became the last side from League Two to reach the fifth round, losing 1-4 to Manchester City.
This season Mike Flynn’s side have come out of the blocks strongly and are three points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand, although they were held to a draw by Walsall at home on Tuesday night. In the First Round goals from Ash Baker and Jamie Devitt secured a 2-1 win away at our fellow League Two side, Leyton Orient.
However influential playmaker Scott Twine is ineligible for the fixture with Swindon not granting him permission to play in the FA Cup, according to local reports.
HOW TO WATCH
Saturday’s clash is only available to watch online for supporters in the UK due to rights restrictions, but audio commentary is available worldwide.