STAR PREVIEW: Newport County v Middlesbrough

Many FA Cup replays are things that managers seek to avoid but this one, between Newport County and Middlesbrough is very different. Whoever makes it through this tie will have the honour of a big date with Manchester City on their home turf in the fifth round which adds some extra spice (and cash) to the occasion.

This was always going to be a big occasion for the hosts. Solidly clear of the relegation zone – they are 13 points clear of the League Two drop – they have been able to focus solidly on a big cup run that has already produced plenty of joy and a big upset in the shape of their victory against Leicester.

They managed to get the better of a Leicester side that included Danny Simpson, Wes Morgan, Chirstian Fuchs, Shinji Okazaki, Marc Albrighton, and Kelechi Ihenacho – whilst James Maddison and Demarai Gray were brought on with plenty of time left.

That success took a fine performance from Joe Day to do so but it was another example of them raising their game for the Cup competitions here and they deserved their draw fully when it came at The Riverside.

It was a last minute equaliser from former former Boro academy player Matthew Dolan to take the tie back to Rodney Parade but County were putting on the pressure before he poked the ball home and the match stats show a deserved draw, with Newport having 5 shots on target to the hosts’ four and only losing the shot count 19-17.

Newport County v Middlesbrough
FA Cup 4th Round Replay
19:45 BT Sport 2 / BT Sport 4K UHD

(Maximum 10 matches)
JAN 2019 FA CUP Middlesbrough 1-1 Newport County

Tony Pulis has said he’ll name a strong side for tonight but after a 3-2 win against West Brom at the weekend he’s got the tantalising prospect of promotion right in his grasp, and the spectre of Leeds at home is surely going to weigh heavily on his mind.

Pulis tends to be more conservative but Middlesbrough appear to have loosened up recently with their last four games seeing both sides score and that might be the way to play this.

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