NEWPORT County AFC host third-placed Oxford United tonight in the first of five successive home games as they aim to get their promotion push back on track, writes Andrew Penman.
County slipped to tenth place in the table following Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Hartlepool United, eight points below the play-off places.
But midfielder Adam Chapman says a win over his former club tonight could spark the Exiles’ season back into life after a difficult few months.
Six matches have been postponed at Rodney Parade since December 21 but the club is hopeful that the clash with Oxford, originally set for New Year’s Day, will go ahead this evening.
“Hopefully we’ll have a home game against Oxford and if we can get all five on it will be brilliant because we need to get on a bit of a run,” said Chapman.
“We need to get a bit of momentum going and get some confidence back.
“Oxford are a good, strong, physical outfit and, even though they’ve lost their manager, there’s a lot of experience in that team and I’d expect them to be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.
“But we’re a match for anyone at home and we’re still in a good position in the table.
“If we can get a bit of luck on our side now and get a little scruffy 1-0 win then we’ll be firing again.”
Chapman was disappointed with the defeat at Hartlepool but he’s convinced that the Exiles can bounce back.
“I don’t think we deserved anything out of the game but 3-0 was maybe a little bit harsh, especially the last goal when we were piling men forward,” he said.
“But we got punished. We were really dominant in the first half but we didn’t take our chances and four or five mistakes led to the first goal and that took the wind out of us.
“The second was a moment when you think it’s just going to be one of those days,” he added of Andy Sandell’s own goal involving Lee Minshull and Tom Naylor.
“We’ve got two honest boys in Mins and Nayls heading the same ball and it hit Sands in the face and gone straight in the goal. After that it’s a long way back.
“Obviously we’re not happy with the result but if you’d offered us this position at the start of the season I think a lot of people would have been happy with that and we’re not done yet.”