JANUARY signing Ben Kennedy admits he’s gutted to miss out on Saturday’s FA Cup showdown with Manchester City but he’s hoping to make his home debut for Newport County AFC tonight, writes Josh Thomas.

After a deadline day loan move from Stevenage, Kennedy started in the Exiles’ 3-0 defeat at Grimsby Town two days later.

But, having already played in the FA Cup for Stevenage in their first-round defeat at Plymouth, he was ineligible for last week’s victory over Middlesbrough and will again be a spectator for the City clash.

“Unlucky for me I’m cup-tied,” said the Northern Ireland under-21 International. “I’m a bit fuming. It would have been nice to play Man City, I’ve never played a big club.

“But it’s a good environment to come into. It’s a happy place.”

Kennedy supported Chelsea as he grew up in Belfast and he found himself sitting next to Blues legend John Obi Mikel, who has recently signed for Middlesbrough, during last week’s fourth-round replay.

“It was strange in the stands sitting beside Mikel,” said the 22-year-old.

“He just kept going back watch the TV and highlights. I saw him shake his head every five seconds. He wasn’t a happy man.

“From the first minute I knew we were going to win,” he added. “We battered them in the end and we deserved the win – it could have been a lot more.

“I think [George] Friend was scared of Robbie [Willmott] and he put in a lot of crosses in the box and the two up front caused a lot of problems.

“It could have been three by half-time and I’m sure, if the pitch is the way it is, Man City will struggle as well.

“Any other team will struggle to play in those conditions but it will play into our favour.”

South Wales Argus:

Kennedy knows how intimidating Rodney Parade can be and he’s looking forward to the fans being on his side if he features against MK Dons tonight.

“I’ve played here for Stevenage this season so I know what it’s like,” he said.

“It was bouncing against Boro. It’s a small pitch and the fans get behind their team and I’m looking forward to having them on my side.”