THERE was no early Christmas present for Newport County AFC in last night’s FA Cup third round draw.

Glenn Hoddle and Jermaine Jenas didn’t deliver the dream trip to Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs or Chelsea.

The visit of Leeds United to Rodney Parade will not provide the potential £1million windfall that the County directors were hoping for.

And, having already played the Championship outfit in the Carabao Cup this season, it wasn’t a name to set the pulses racing amongst the majority of the Exiles fan-base.

But nobody should be turning their noses up at the prospect of the former English league champions and European Cup finalists coming to Newport.

County are in the third round of the FA Cup for only the second time in 32 years and a home clash with a club of Leeds’ stature should be something to celebrate.

United should bring a lot of fans to the city and the Exiles should be able to rely on a sell-out home crowd and an atmosphere to match last season’s Great Escape final against Notts County.

And the League Two v Championship clash could well be one to capture the eye of TV executives, which would go a long way to making up for missing out on a lucrative away trip.

Michael Flynn and his men will also be quietly confident of causing a famous cup shock if they maintain their current form over the next month.

Who knows? County could yet get that massive away tie in the fourth round, or at least earn a replay and another trip to Elland Road.

There were certainly enough signs in the August meeting to suggest that Flynn’s men can cause their illustrious opponents plenty of problems.

That match ended 5-1 with Kemar Roofe and Sam Saiz demonstrating just how clinical the top sides can be when they click into gear.

But it shouldn’t be forgotten that County led through Joss Labadie’s first-half strike after Sean Rigg and Shawn McCoulsky had already gone close to breaking the deadlock.

South Wales Argus:

And it could so easily have been 2-0 if a lightning quick break hadn’t been halted by Lamar Reynolds being pulled back on the halfway line.

Flynn lamented his side’s missed chances on the big stage and his team will relish the chance to put things right on home turf next month.

And we should be relishing the chance to watch round two of what was an enthralling contest until Leeds levelled a minute before the break in the first game and then ran away with things in the second half.

There are six vital League Two matches to come before then, however, and hopefully the FA Cup buzz will help persuade more punters through the turnstiles at Rodney Parade.

Recent home attendance figures have been disappointing for a team that is challenging at the top end of the table.

County haven’t attracted a crowd of more than 3,000 since the 1-1 draw with Mansfield Town on October 21.

Significantly that was the last Saturday 3pm home match for the Exiles.

The traditional kick-off time has produced an average crowd of 3,655 over five home games so far this season.

Tuesday night, Friday night, Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon kick-offs in the league and FA Cup average out at just 2,703 over six matches.

With County offering priority for cup tickets to everyone who attends this weekend's home clash with Carlisle United, it's time to ditch the Christmas shopping and get down to Rodney Parade.