It's the international weekend for football this week, so it's quite fitting that Port Vale make the journey to Wales today to face high flying Newport County. As we head into this game hoping to pick up our first away win of the season, you can find all the key information ahead of the fixture below:
Fixture: Newport County vs Port Vale
Competition: Sky Bet League Two
Manager: John Askey
Top Goal Scorer: Richie Bennett (3)
After the Vale suffered their first defeat away to Grimsby Town two weeks ago, John Askeys side responded in the perfect way seven days later by picking up three points against Cambridge United. Not only did the victory make it two wins in two at Vale Park, it continued our unbeaten run at home in the league this season.
With the focus turning to todays match against Newport County, Askey will be keen to build on the momentum picked up from the wins against Cambridge United and Shrewsbury Town, and pick up a first away win of the season. Standing in the way is a Newport County side who have gone 16 games unbeaten in the league under manager Michael Flynn.
Heading into the game, Askey has confirmed he has the fully fit squad to choose from apart from Manny Oyeleke, who is still recovering his hamstring injury. The gaffer delivered good news in his press conference yesterday morning, confirming winger Rhys Browne had returned to full training and was looking sharp.
Newport are strong, probably one of the strongest in the league... come the end of the season I expect Newport to be up there at the top
John Askey, Port Vale Manager
Manager: Michael Flynn
Top Goal Scorer: Padraig Amond (4)
Newport County have had a fine start to the season and currently sit second in the league table, picking up three wins and three draws from their opening six games. They head into the game this afternoon however on the back of a poor result on Wednesday evening in the Leasing.Com Trophy. Having led 4-1 against West Ham United Under 21s, the Exiles threw it away and ended up losing 5-4 on the night.
Michael Flynns side will be hoping to take it one step further this season and get promoted to League One, having suffered play-off final heartbreak back in May when they lost to Tranmere Rovers. Newport will have their eyes firmly set on extending their unbeaten run in the league this afternoon to 17, whilst also boasting a fine defensive record having not conceded a goal since the opening day of the season.
Flynn confirmed after the West Ham loss that the Exiles have struggled with injuries this week and could be missing a few key players for todays game. Lewis Collins, Jamille Matt, Tristan Abrahams and top goalscorer Padraig Amond remain doubtful ahead of today due to injury, whilst Danny McNamara has been called away on international duties.
There are a lot of players missing. It’s frustrating.
Michael Flynn, Newport County Manager
One To Watch: Kyle Howkins
A man we know all about here at Port Vale. A man mountain at the back, Kyle Howkins appears to have been a fantastic signing for Michael Flynn at Newport County. Howkins has featured in every league game so far this season for the Exiles, conceding just two goals on the opening day of the season to Mansfield Town.
Howkins can take great credit for that achievement so far since arriving, and Askey will know all too well the strengths of the defender having managed him during his second loan spell at the Vale last season.
Standing 6ft 5', Howkins has a towering presence at the back which is not only a huge advantage for Newport in defence, but also in attack when threatening from set pieces. Whoever starts up front for the Vale this afternoon, they will have to find a way through a solid Newport defence which will no doubt include the former Vale man.
John Askey: The main thing for us is we’ve got more or less a full squad to pick from, where I don’t think that’s the case for Newport, obviously Newport are strong, probably one of the strongest teams in the league, but they’ve got one out on international duty and two or three injuries so it might be a decent time to play them.
Michael Flynn: Port Vale will be a really tough game. They’ve improved a lot and they are a tough opponent both home and away. We’ve drawn twice with them at home [in the past two seasons], so it is going to be a really difficult afternoon.
iFollow The Vale will be providing full 90-minute commentary from the match, whilst the Port Vale Twitter and Facebook feeds will be providing live updates for the entirety.
There will also be the build-up to the game with the official Snapchat and Instagram accounts: officialpvfc
Reaction will be available on the official website post-match, as well as on YouTube, iFollow and social media.