Oldham Athletic take on League Two side Newport County in the first round of the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon at Rodney Parade.
It will be Newport's first taste of FA Cup action this season, where they will come up against an Oldham Athletic side who edged past Altrincham impressively in the final qualifying round to reach this stage.
The League Two outfit suffered a 1-0 defeat in their respective group in the EFL trophy last weekend to West Ham’s U21s side thanks to a terrific Gideon Kodua strike that found the top corner.
It meant Newport have split their opening two group games with a win and a loss whilst the final fixture against Bristol Rovers crucial in the bid for progression to round two for both sides.
Oldham meanwhile met Altrincham for the second time in as many weeks last weekend but were unable to repeat the same result after an entertaining 2-2 draw was played out at Boundary Park.
Latics had to come back from behind on two separate occasions in the game. Altrincham’s danger man Chris Conn-Clarke opened up the visitor’s first opening and it was a lethal punch when his deft cross was met firmly by Justin Amaluzor to give his side the lead.
Some excellent football inside the box between Kieron Freeman and James Norwood found the striker with space to fire the equaliser into the roof of the net for his seventh of the season though minutes later Altrincham were awarded a controversial spot kick after Hallam Hope was deemed to have handled the ball.
The penalty was smartly dispatched by Conn-Clarke that saw the visitors regain the lead in the first half, though Nathan Sheron denied Altrincham the victory late on with a thunderous strike to share the spoils.
In Group H of the Southern region of the EFL Trophy saw West Ham’s U21 side secure their place in round two of the competition with a 1-0 win at Newport last weekend which secured their progression through to round two.
Newport meanwhile must wait for qualification until their final fixture of the group stage that will come against Bristol in just under two week’s time which will decide which of the two sides will advance.
The game was one of few opportunities for either side, though both did have chances of quality that only West Ham were able to take. Lewis Payne’s low cross was met by Nathan Wood whose first-time effort struck the inside of the post inside four minutes.
Kodua had his first of several opportunities in the match. George Earthy’s neat slide rule pass found the striker who in on goal was denied by a strong block by Newport keeper Nick Townsend.
Omar Bogle’s poor pass had gifted possession to the visitors though Earthy this time was denied by another block by Townsend. West Ham did ultimately punish Newport’s waste
in possession, when Kodua whipped a delicious effort into the top corner to give the away side a narrow lead after an hour played.
Townsend in the final 30 minutes of the game kept the scoreline at 1-0 with some strong stops to thwart Lewis Orford and Kodua late on, though Newport were unable to force penalties.
If Newport can progress to the next round, they will look to better their performance in the competition from last season where they lost out in a 3-1 defeat to MK Dons.
The defeat was their third in the last five fixtures in all competitions, and Newport’s third successive game without victory at Rodney Parade which they will seek to correct when they host Oldham at the weekend.
They were able to pick up a needed win in League Two action a few days prior. A Bogle brace from the spot that came in a seven-minute period was enough to secure an important three points at Gillingham.
Newport had gone their previous four league fixtures without a win, with their result at Gillingham a timely victory after a difficult first eleven league games.
Latics’ upcoming opponents had initially gone winless in the opening five League Two fixtures before a 2-1 win over Colchester United snapped that run to secure their first win of the campaign.
That victory up to date is Newport’s only win at Rodney Parade, though the Exiles do have a terrific chance to grab their second on their home turf in what is England’s most prestigious cup competition.
Will Evans was a standout choice when looking at the main threats Oldham would have to face on Saturday. The forward has been in fine goalscoring form for Newport so far this season, and he will be looking for the net once more this weekend.
The 26-year-old has struck 12 times so far this season, with ten of those coming in League Two action, though his last goal came in the thrilling 3-3 draw with Walsall in mid-October.
It was however a special effort, precisely firing a stunning curling strike into the top corner to give his side a 2-1 lead. It came in a game where his attacking play was particularly highlighted.
Evans’ creative nous was also on show, a smashing driven cross found Bryn Morris at the back post to put Newport back in front. The forward has shown the impact he can have on games, though Oldham will hope to erase the footprint Evans will want to leave on the game.
In the dugout
Graham Coughlin has been on a steady journey as a manager since his playing days ended in 2013 at Southend United. The 48-year-old was quick to gain managerial experience as assistant at Southend for an eight-year period spanning until 2018.
Today's referee is Daniel Middleton, who'll be assisted by Richard Morris and Oliver Spender, with Neil Pratt taking up the role of fourth official.
Match coverage and information
Live audio commentary is available on Latics Player, guiding you through the match.
This Emirates FA Cup fixture will not be available to stream either domestically or ocverseas.
Supporters can follow the game with live updates on the club's official Twitter account: @OfficialOAFC