CROSS KEYS v NEWPORT (Tonight, KO 7.15)

NEWPORT will be looking to up their game for tonight’s Gwent derby away at big rivals Cross Keys after last week’s disappointing draw with Cardiff.

Honours were even at Rodney Parade last Friday night between the Black and Ambers and their old enemy the Blue and Blacks in a dispiriting 6-6 stalemate.

Keys were supposed to travel to troubled Aberavon last Saturday but the game at the Talbot Athletic Ground was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.

Newport have one over Keys so this season after they beat them 24-20 at Pandy Park in October’s British and Irish Cup clash.

Black and Ambers head coach Sven Cronk didn’t pull any punches when he spoke about last week’s scrappy deadlock with Cardiff which was littered with handling errors.

The game’s scoring was limited to two penalties kicked by Newport outside half Scott Sneddon to one by his counterpart Will Thomas who also managed to drop a goal.

“It was a disappointing game all round and I think everybody left thinking the same thing whether you are a Newport or Cardiff fan, player or management,” Cronk said.

“In the first half we were poor and we never really came out of the blocks.

“We started better in the second half but failed to convert anything – just a lone penalty.”

Cronk added they could have scored two tries but it just wasn’t to be.

“We lost the ball driving over their line in the first half,” he said.

“Dan Robinson cut a lovely line near the end but he didn’t see a player coming on the inside and the defence smashed his arm and he knocked the ball on – little things like that just kept getting away from us.

“A draw was a fair reflection of the game I think.

“We’ve got to go up to Keys now and perform and that’s where we are.”