NEWPORT County AFC are expecting a bumper crowd when they make their return to Rodney Parade with a League Two reunion against Michael Flynn's Walsall.

The Exiles started the season with a hard-earned 1-1 draw at Sutton last weekend thanks to Omar Bogle's leveller in the first half.

They put the pressure on at the death but couldn't find a winner and will hope to chalk up a first success against Flynn's Saddlers, who started with a bang by hammering Hartlepool 4-0.

Here are the talking points ahead of this weekend's clash…

South Wales Argus: County applaud the away end after their draw at SuttonCounty applaud the away end after their draw at Sutton


County boss James Rowberry will issue a fitness update on Friday morning but he was without central defenders James Clarke and Priestley Farquharson in the opener at Sutton.

Clarke suffered a minor hip issue while Farquharson is being gently brought back after needing a knee operation at the end of last season.

County are likely to stick with their 3-5-2 and Clarke's injury led to captain Matty Dolan starting in between Mickey Demetriou and Declan Drysdale at Gander Green Lane.

Will Evans started at left wing-back ahead of Aaron and Adam Lewis to combat Sutton's physicality, and it wouldn't be a shock to see an unchanged XI.


It won't just be the teams that get the attention coming out of the tunnel just before 3pm, Flynn and his right-hand man Wayne Hatswell will get a rousing reception as they head to the away dugout.

READ MORE: County set for Flynn reunion

It's a first return to Rodney Parade for County legend Flynn since he left in mid-October and it undoubtedly adds a little bit of extra spice.

There will be two Newport men in the dugouts for the first time since Flynn got the better of Tony Pulis and Middlesbrough in the FA Cup.


County's promotion charge was ended by a miserable run on home soil last season with defeats to Hartlepool, Exeter, Crawley, Colchester and Rochdale.

Rowberry probably could have done without the return of Flynn first up but the boss will be keen to end that streak, even if this is very much a new-look side after six debutants started in Sutton.

County took more points on their travels than they did in Newport last season and need that to change if they are to enjoy another promotion challenge.

South Wales Argus: WINNER: James Clarke celebrates his headed winnerWINNER: James Clarke celebrates his headed winner


Don't be tempted to try and beat the traffic after last season.

James Clarke was the last-gasp hero for County at Rodney Parade when he headed in a cross from fellow Walsall old boy Cameron Norman.

It was former Exiles loanee Conor Wilkinson that returned the favour in the Midlands on New Year's Day.

His wondergoal made it 3-3 for a share of the spoils from a bonkers game at the Bescot, and sparked a pitch invasion from the delighted home fans.


Walsall had a busy summer and made a flying start by hammering Hartlepool 4-0 thanks to one of their late arrivals.

Striker Danny Johnson scored a hat-trick on his debut after making the move from League Two rivals Mansfield, who changed their mind at the last minute to make it a loan until January rather than permanent switch.

The poacher grabbed the headlines but midfielder Isaac Hutchinson also shone on his first outing for the club.

League Two fixtures: Barrow v Bradford, Colchester v Carlisle, Crawley v Leyton Orient, Crewe v Harrogate, Doncaster v Sutton, Gillingham v Rochdale, Grimsby v Northampton, Hartlepool v AFC Wimbledon, Mansfield v Tranmere, County v Walsall, Stevenage v Stockport, Swindon v Salford.