Parade factor crucial for Exiles' massive showdown tonight

SET TO FACE OLD CLUB: County's Tony James, formerly of Hereford United

SET TO FACE OLD CLUB: County's Tony James, formerly of Hereford United

First published in Sport South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

COUNTY V HEREFORD UTD (Tonight, KO 7.45)

NEWPORT County AFC defender Tony James believes the Rodney Parade factor will help the Exiles send the Bulls home with their tails between their legs tonight.

County go in search of a fifth straight win in the Blue Square Bet Premier and a sell-out crowd is expected for the highly-anticipated clash with Hereford United.

Centre-back James can’t wait to take on his old club and is predicting a very different game to the scrappy 2-1 win at Braintree Town on Saturday.

“It’s a big one, a massive game,” said the 33-year-old. “There should be a big crowd, hopefully a good atmosphere and a great game.

“I’m sure it will be different from Saturday. We want to stamp our authority on games at home and hopefully we’ll get back to that.

“Rodney Parade has been really good and, speaking to the lads, totally different to the feeling at Spytty last year. It can only help in the long run.”

James was born in Cwmbran but began his career at Hereford after being released from the West Brom youth set-up.

He spent eight years at Edgar Street from 1998 to 2006 and returned for a brief loan spell in 2010, playing nearly 300 matches for the Bulls in total.

“I’ve been back there and played on numerous occasions and they’re normally pretty good to me,” he said.

“It’s always nice to play against your old club and it motivates you a little bit more so I won’t need too many words from the gaffer or the lads for this one.

“Everyone is buzzing at the start we’ve made, it’s perfect, we couldn’t have asked for anything more.

“We didn’t play well at Braintree but we ground the result out. Is that a sign of a good team? We’ll have to wait and see.

“It’s the first time we’ve been 1-0 down but we responded well and found a way to win.

“You want to do well and you expect to be fighting for the points every game but to get four wins is a fantastic start.”

James is particularly pleased with the understanding he’s built up with fellow central defender Ismail Yakubu over the past month.

“I didn’t play with Ish too much in pre-season because of his injury but he’s come in and done really well,” he said.

“He got the winner on Saturday and he said it was the first one he’s ever scored with his foot so he’s more than happy.

“I’m enjoying it, we’re winning every week at the moment, and we just have to keep the run going.”

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