Darrell Clarke believes his Walsall players are in for a tough time against Newport County at Rodney Parade this evening (Tuesday).
Former Salisbury City and Bristol Rovers manager Clarke, who took over from current Wrexham team boss Dean Keates at Walsall, says: “Newport have a really dodgy pitch if seeing it on TV is anything to go by.
“Flynny (Michael Flynn) does a cracking job there and we know we’ll have to head a lot of balls out of our box.
“Long throws on each side – we know we’ll have to have our tin hats on.
“That’s not being negative towards Newport at all because they can play some good stuff as well.”
Clarke, aged 42, led Bristol Rovers when they earned back-to-back promotions knows both teams badly need a win in tonight’s League Two clash.
The rivals are level on points in mid-table, although County have games in hand.
— Newport County AFC (@NewportCounty) February 11, 2020
Walsall ended a three-game losing run with a 2-1 win against Forest Green Rovers on Saturday, County slipped 1-0 at home to Cambridge United.
Liam O’Neill scored the only goal and manager Michael Flynn said: “I didn’t see that performance coming.
“You can play well and lose to a counter-attack, but we were way off it.
“The performance was nowhere near what we expect, what we work on and the levels that the players have been at lately.
“I was left a bit shell-shocked by what I saw.
“I couldn’t see anything other than a 0-0 because the game was that bad.
“Cambridge had a game plan to defend. I told the players at half-time ‘they’ve come for the draw and the only way they are going to score is by something poor from us’.
“We went and gave it to them.”
Former Newport County and Merthyr Town full-back Cameron Pring was in outstanding form. The 22-year-old is on a season-long loan from Bristol City and twice cleared off the line against Forest Green.
“Pring was excellent after shockers against Carlisle and Morecambe, but he knows that,” he said.
“He’s as honest as the day and I love that about players.”
Newport fans were given their first glimpse of transfer deadline day signing Otis Khan when he went on as a substitute just after the hour mark against Cambridge.
County have three of their next four fixtures at home – against Walsall, Salford City (Football League Trophy) and Bradford. They travel to play Mansfield Town on Saturday.
Newport County AFC (4-3-3): Tom King; Daniel Leadbitter (Otis Khan 65), Ryan Inniss, Kyle Howkins (Tristan Abrahams 73), Mickey Demetriou; Scot Bennett, Joss Labadie (capt), Josh Sheehan (Padraig Amond 26); Robbie Willmott, Jamille Matt, Jordan Green. Subs not used: Nick Townsend, Joe Woodiwiss, Dale Gorman, Billy Waters.
Cambridge United (4-4-2): Callum Burton; Kyle Knowle, Greg Taylor (capt), Harry Darling (George Taft 46), Harrison Dunk; George Maris, Paul Lewis, Liam O’Neil, Leon Davies; Harvey Knibbs (Paul Mullin 57), Victor Adeboyejo (Andrew Dallas 80). Subs not used: Dimitar Mitov, Daniel Jones, Idris El Mizouni, Reggie Lambe.