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The Voice - Match preview Newport County vs Bradford City Saturday 23rd September 3:00pm

Discussion in 'City Talk' started by The Voice, Sep 17, 2023.

  1. The Voice

    The Voice The voice of reason
    The Voice

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    CityNewport.jpg

    EFL LEAGUE TWO FIXTURE #9


    Saturday 23rd September 2023 15:00
    Newport County vs Bradford City
    Rodney Parade

    22/23 Results:

    13 Aug 2022: Bradford City 2 – 0 Newport County
    11 Mar 2023: Newport County 1 – 1 Bradford City

    Head-to-Head Form: DWDDL

    Won: 21
    Drawn: 9
    Lost: 18

    Current League Form:

    Bradford City: DDDWL
    Harrogate Town: DLDWW

    NEWPORT COUNTY

    Newport County might be the right opponents at the right time for goal-starved Bradford City fans.

    The Exiles have been one of the freest scoring teams in League Two this season, trailing only Wrexham, Swindon Town and Crewe Alexandra with an impressive tally of 16 league goals scored so far this season. At the other end, though, Newport County have also shipped the joint highest number of League Two goals with 15 – only rock bottom Sutton United (20) have conceded more!

    There are signs, though, that Graham Coughlan's men are starting to normalise their scorecards a little bit: a pair of 1-1 draws (most recently against Barrow, and previously against Brentford in the EFL Cup) have sneaked in, but only either side of a 4-1 thrashing at Crawley Town and a 4-goal draw at home to AFC Wimbledon. Still, for those City fans prepared to make the not-insubstantial trip to South Wales on the back of some less-than-thrilling performances, the hope will be a bevvy in goals more in line with their opponents than Bradford City themselves!

    Indeed until a run of 3 draws from their last 4 games in all competitions, Newport County were very much a side who either won well or lost heavily. A crushing 3-0 opening day defeat did nothing to portend the 4-0 home victory over Doncaster Rovers, or indeed a 3-0 win over recently relegated Forest Green Rovers. A 3-1 win over Sutton United in late August was their last win, while a 4-2 drubbing at Crewe Alexandra was sandwiched in the middle of a markedly improved run.

    So what to expect from this erratic and inconsistent Newport County side?

    Well, expect Will Evans to be the main danger man for the Exiles, having netted 7 times in 8 league outings, plus another in the EFL Cup first round win over Charlton Athletic. While Evans has failed to net in either of his last 2 outings, his explosive early season form is reminiscent of the kind of run Bradford City enjoyed from Andy Cook last season. Only Swindon Town's Bradford City loanee Jake Young has scored more so far.

    Omar Bogle may have only been a bit part player so far, but his return to first team contention in recent weeks has been very welcome. Outside of the centre forwards, Harry Charsley had been a bright spot for the Exiles – but having succumbed to injury, the ex-Everton and Bolton Wanderers midfielder will be out of action until November. Key defender Declan Drysdale will be kept 'wrapped up' to ensure his return to full fitness, and that could be important for Coughlan's side in terms of tightening things up at the back.

    A side who do not rely on possession, Newport County will try to test the Bradford City back line with direct balls, crosses, and, where permitted by the opposition, set pieces. With Bogle up front with current hot shot Evans, that won't be easy to deal with for Bradford City, but nor is it specifically City's weakness.

    At the back is where Newport have the greatest issues. The Exiles have conceded some alarmingly bad goals, both as a result of their own mistakes in possession and via players running straight through them at times. A glance at either the Wimbledon (2-2) or Crawley (1-4) highlights will show some very poor defending, coupled with severely sub-standard goalkeeping. Nick Townsend, who dons the gloves for Newport this season, put in a better display against Barrow last time out, but has hardly been convincing in some of their other games.

    Will Rodney Parade play host to another lopsided goalfest this weekend? That will depend a lot on how their opponents line up – and don't Bradford City fans just know it...



    Crawley Town 4 – 1 Newport County



    Newport County 1 – 1 Barrow

    BRADFORD CITY

    Mark Hughes has issued a call for calm after the side's dismal 1-1 draw with Harrogate Town, the boss outlining that it's not so easy when side's come to Valley Parade and sit in – and you're missing your main attacking players.

    That will be seen as an excuse by some City fans, who might point to games where players like Andy Cook and Alex Pattison were available, and The Bantams still failed to produce breathless attacking football – or, at times, even competent displays. Hughes is right in one sense: with an unbeaten home record and having lost just 2 of 10 total games across both league and cup, things aren't that bad. But at the same time, the draw-heavy nature of the results combined with Bradford's defence-first tactical displays hardly makes for engrossing watching.

    There's no question that Bradford City were the better team against Harrogate Town. The Sulphurites offered very little in attack, or in possession. Their 'park the bus' strategy probably hampered some of their better attacking players, though Matty Daly did manage to get one over the club he spent a short while on loan with via a 78th minute goal that looked – for the longest time – like being the winner.

    But Mark Oxley had a rush of blood to the head, and immersed himself fully in No Man's Land as Brad Halliday dinked a last ditch free kick into the area, and Jamie Walker rose tallest to nod into an empty net. Cue rapturous scenes?

    Not on this occasion...

    There is a sense among the Bradford City fan base that something needs to change, and while there is seemingly more resilience than there has been in previous seasons with an under-pressure manager, Mark Hughes does remain under at least some pressure – and it will only mount unless performances improve.

    There's no question Mark Hughes did not envision playing Chisom Afoka up front with Bobby Pointon his main attacking midfield ally – but needs must, and City simply have to find ways of testing opposition goalkeepers far more than they are doing. While the regime state their dissatisfaction with aspects of recent home draws with Grimsby Town and Harrogate Town, the fan base has been much more vocal: They expect far more.

    Such is the balancing act of managing a team with such high expectations.

    The good news, maybe, is that Andy Cook might just be able to play at the weekend. While Hughes illustrated the issue he's had with his knee recently, it might prove better than nothing for a Bradford City side sorely lacking a focal figure up top. Jamie Walker performed manfully against Harrogate, and rattled off numerous shots, but seemed the only player willing to repeatedly have a go. There were flashes of promise from substitute Adam Wilson, who curled a fine effort narrowly over, but Bradford City just aren't threatening to score enough – and have only topped 1 goal once this season.

    More attacking threat might allow the Bantams to convert some draws into wins, but at the minute, City fans have been reduced to watching a Bradford City side that seem only capable of matching teams (regardless of ability) – rather than putting them to the sword.

    CityNewportLong.jpg

    THE BREAKDOWN

    Newport County: 5/4
    Draw: 9/4
    Bradford City: 21/10

    Teams that actually shoot against Newport County will score goals. Expecting Bradford City to shoot, however, is a topic of hot discussion.

    Mark Hughes said the lack of efforts on goal isn't down to him: he pointed out he would be shooting all the time, harking back to a phenomenal playing career – but why is that not translating to this Bradford City side?

    If Bradford City get their tactics spot on for the Newport County game, they will try to make the most of some rather glaring weaknesses. Defensively, Newport have struggled against sides that run directly at them, either via the wings or through the middle. The centre backs in particular have looked extremely uncomfortable with the ball on the deck. But unless someone does indeed run at them, and shoot against the erratic Nick Townsend in goal, Bradford City fans might once again be served up a low-percentage attacking performance most likely to end in yet another draw.

    Put simply, City must turn it up a few notches at Rodney Parade.

    Bradford City aren't bad defensively. They don't concede many goals, outside of the 3-0 humbling at Morecambe earlier this season, and a repeat of that doesn't look too likely at the moment – certainly not imminently, at least. If Newport do go direct to Bogle, that probably won't be a massive concern for the travelling faithful. Will Evans milling about on the best form of his career, however, will be more problematic for a back line often intent on dominating the ball and conceding what feels like the majority of chances through loose passes.

    It's hard, then, to be too optimistic. A narrow in is possible, especially if Cook can return hungry for his first goal of the season, and the blueprint is there: Newport County's defence can be got it in a way that City's defence is harder to tear apart. A win is logical.

    But form dictates it's not likely – unfortunately.

    As Newport begin to level out and incorporate draws into their list of results, as opposed to one-sided beatings either way, they happen to line up against one of the draw kings of the division, a side who rarely punish other teams for even the most obvious weaknesses. Let's hope this prediction is wrong, but it looks to be trending for a low-scoring draw.

    PREDICTION:

    Newport County 1 – 1 Bradford City
     
  2. SteveC

    SteveC Squad Player
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    Giving this one a miss. I have been to every away game including Accy and Wrexham, and with the manner we played yesterday I am not subjecting myself to a 4 hour drive to a shithole like Newport just to watch us put in yet another abject and demoralising piss poor performance. Opted for an afternoon round Pudsey instead for my mates birthday

    I think 10 days away from thinking about City will do me the world of good to be totally honest!
     
  3. Goose

    Goose Impact Sub

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    Not sure it's true or not but my mate bought his tickets for it and when asked how many we had sold the reply was less than 50. Tells its own story that.

    Another poor showing in that game and a hammering by Middlesbrough and I can see a huge drop off against Swindon, probably less than 10k
     
  4. AngryGaz

    AngryGaz Impact Sub
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    We put in a no show next Saturday then surly he's got to go ?????
     
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  5. vladimir

    vladimir Impact Sub

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    I noticed on Saturday the gaps appearing in the crowd are getting bigger, iff things dont improve on the pitch it will be the loss of fans that will bring it home to Sparks but not untill !
     
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  6. Gardscoigne

    Gardscoigne Squad Player

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    I got tickets for us four, I think it’s now down to two of us going. And I’m regretting it quite honestly.
     
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  7. Rogered Tart

    Rogered Tart Regular Starter
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    Its worrying how quickly the mood has gone downhill since losing in the playoffs. Home results show us unbeaten but thats not half the story. Each game has seen us score either just before half time or full time to mask over what were pretty poor and uninspiring performances. I've heard the line trotted out about getting injured players back but lets be honest only Pattison looked anything like scoring regularly. Andy Cook only looked like scoring in one game at Stockport, the rest he was feeding off nothing.
    And with Hughes choosing to revert to a 4-2-3-1 but without the likes of Scott Banks and the injured Andy Cook, we go back to a line that generally flattered to deceive, bar the fantastic season of Cook. Even with the likes of Walker coming back and the return of Chapman its hardly getting the pulse racing for whats to come. I'll be honest i don't know how it changes with what set up we have, we need to forget this notion of 'handbrakes' being on and the like. that ain't a handbrake, its the managers modus operandi and as i've mentioned before you can't change a managers philosophy.
     
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  8. Petrov

    Petrov Squad Player

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    So Hughes has gone from Saturday not being a must win game, to considering bringing back a not fully fit Cook next Saturday because it's a 'needs must' situation.
    Can someone make this make sense?
     
  9. Loyalbantam

    Loyalbantam Squad Player
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    I said in another post, this is the first away league game I’m voluntarily missing since Covid restrictions were lifted.
    The same will apply with Wimbledon and Sutton. Just cant justify giving them a whole day of my weekend with zero return.
     
  10. Loyalbantam

    Loyalbantam Squad Player
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    Sparks has done a good job in bringing in new sponsorship but that will become more difficult to attract if attendances start dropping.
    The club will know the true numbers coming through the door and it was nowhere near 17k on Saturday. Closer to 13-14k I’d say.
     
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  11. Captain Grumpy

    Captain Grumpy Impact Sub
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    I think it’s appalling that he’s going to risk long term damage to Cook by bringing him back too early to try to save his job. Hell of a risk!
     
  12. Manningham bantam

    Manningham bantam Impact Sub
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    Petrov - It’s called desperation ;)
     
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  13. Ulysses S Grant

    Ulysses S Grant Squad Player
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    I think it's appalling he's going to risk long term damage to the club by playing the negative tactics that he plays.
     
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  14. Jordan

    Jordan Impact Sub

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    There's no way he would be rushing back players unless he knew he's done with a defeat. If he gets sacked here, that's his career done, surely? Went all those years out of work, had the time to build something and not only did it not work, but he's now gotten to the point where the "Hughes shine" has well and truly faded away.

    Think I saw it was 3 wins in our last 12 league games going back into last season? Saw an OPTA stat since Saturday showing that we are 21st in the league at 'direct speed' which is basically how quickly it takes you receiving the ball to attack. Nothing seems to add up to equal job security for Leslie.
     
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  15. Petrov

    Petrov Squad Player

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    That's why it's so concerning. The actions of a man trying to save his own skin with no thought or care about the consequences for player, team or club.
     
    vladimir, JudgeMental, Onside and 3 others like this.
  16. Onside

    Onside Squad Player
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    Who is Leslie?
     
  17. Jordan

    Jordan Impact Sub

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    Leslie is Hughes' actual first name.
     
    RCarol, Ulysses S Grant and Onside like this.
  18. Foghornleghorn

    Foghornleghorn Squad Player
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    Decided after Mansfield to give this weekend a miss.
    Don't miss many away games but the football on show is so poor and I feel deflated before setting off these days.
    It's that feeling that's made my mind up to skip at least the next few in the hope things improve.
     
    Manningham bantam and vladimir like this.
  19. Captain Grumpy

    Captain Grumpy Impact Sub
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    Very true,but would you risk Cook who can’t be anywhere near match fit in a desperate bid to save your job.
     
    vladimir likes this.
  20. Park bantam

    Park bantam Regular Starter
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    Dean Windass used to play if he could stand up. Jamie Walkers knees have gone that’s why he plays for us. You watch him when he is off the ball he walks with a limp. With certain injuries you have to play through discomfort. The alternative is being out long term Aka Jake Reeves
     
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