By Paul Jones
Steve Bruce has been warned not to expect anything friendlier than a touchline elbow bump when his Newcastle United team visit Newport County tomorrow night.
County are in the mood for creating more Carabao Cup shocks, having already dumped Watford out of the competition and with recent Cup heroics against Leicester City and Leeds United still fresh in their minds.
Newcastle may have started their Premier League campaign positively enough, but Newport manager Michael Flynn says his side are relishing another boisterous night at Rodney Parade.
Flynn – who says he has only met Newcastle manager Bruce once before at a Christmas party – does not intend his respect for his opposite number to be overdone once the action starts.
“I can’t wait,” says the Newport boss, whose team have started the season in impressive form and have won their last four matches.
“For me personally going against Steve Bruce, I am really going to enjoy that.
“He had a fantastic career, as much as it was for the wrong team – Manchester United.
“But he was a fantastic winner. That’s still in him – that doesn’t leave you. I have a lot of admiration for Steve Bruce.
“For the players it’s going to be fantastic going against such an iconic club as Newcastle, who are renowned for their fantastic supporters. It is a special occasion for the club.
“The only time I have met Steve was on a Christmas do up in Newcastle. He had popped to see his lad who was at Huddersfield at the time.
“He was approachable – a respectful hello. He won’t remember it. I am surprised I can actually as it was the Christmas do.
“I had just left Huddersfield. I knew a couple of the boys there so that’s how we ended up talking.
“There was no air of arrogance around him. You feel like you know more of him because of the times he has been on the TV and the clubs he has been at.”
Newport have already put Championship side Watford out this season, have knocked both Leicester and Leeds out of the FA Cup and went close to doing the same against both Tottenham and Manchester City.
Newcastle would just be another notch on the belt for Flynn, who continues to be linked with clubs higher up the food chain.
Newport will earn a £100,000 fee for tomorrow’s game being shown live on Sky – a priceless sum at a time when clubs at the bottom of the football pyramid are being hit hard by Covid-19.
Flynn’s players have been tested for coronavirus ahead of the game with the medical bill paid by the Premier League.
“It’s compulsory for this round. It has been covered by the Premier League. We’ve all been tested and followed all the protocols and the procedures,” said the County boss.
“This is the furthest the club has ever got to and we’re playing a Premier League club live on Sky.
“The TV money is huge. The club don’t budget for cup runs so it’s a nice little bonus. It’s nice we can play a part in putting some money into the club.”
Newcastle hammered League Two side Morecambe 7-0 in round three and Flynn added: “Let’s not dress it up, it’s going to be a very tough challenge. You’ve seen what Newcastle did to Morecambe.
Newport County AFC are delighted to announce that Viking Print Studio will be our front-of-shirt sponsor for our historic Carabao Cup fourth round clash against Newcastle United.
— Newport County AFC (@NewportCounty) September 29, 2020
“They are taking the competition seriously. I’m just glad it’s at home, but Newcastle have Premier League and international players and they won’t care about that.
“Newcastle have got a stronger squad this season and they’ll be looking at this as a chance to get to a final and win some silverware.
“You’d rather play against the best team they’ve got as you’d like to get a result against their first team.