It does feel like the Carabao Cup, both in its nature and its title sponsor are tailor-made for Steve Bruce.
You can picture it the celebrations – Newcastle winning a major trophy for the first time in 65 years, and Brucey on top of a table slamming back Carabaos. Newport County are a terrific story, though. As well as a solid start to their League Two campaign where they’ve taken seven points from their opening three games, they’ve also gone on a bit of a tear in this competition.
A loss to Cheltenham in the group stages of the Football League Trophy probably set the expectations of the small but loyal fanbase for the season ahead. But since then, they’ve knocked out Cambridge and scalped an out-of-sorts Watford unit.
Is there something written in the stars? Look very closely. There is! It says: ‘Miracles don’t happen twice’.
Get over yourself. Newcastle play 4-4-2, which should aid them massively in these ties where they should win. So often second-string strikers get lost in the middle of two brute centre halves from lower divisions, but now the presumed pairing of Miguel Almirón and Joelinton up top should see them coast home.
Here’s your three best bets ahead of this intriguing encounter.
He owns this competition, in case you weren’t aware.
The former Shamrock Rovers and Kildare County striker is like many Irishmen who try and make a go for it across the water, but he’s a tad unique. Amond never got a major money move, but instead of a big-money career, he nailed down a long-lasting legacy with the majority of it coming in the Carabao Cup.
Since the start of the 2017/18 competition, Amond has scored 13 times. That ties him with Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus for the most goals in the competition in that time.
I’d like to offer you an alternative bet, but you can’t stop this train.
This feels like the first time we’ve said this since 1996, but there’s too much depth in the Newcastle squad for them to lose games like this.
They can roll out any number of strike partnerships here and fancy themselves. Their previous showing against Morecambe clearly indicates that this competition offers no respite for them and the importance of a trophy at Newcastle is understood by both management and the playing squad.
Steve Bruce is, after all, a local.
The one thing that Newcastle have is a lot of is pace on offer up front and that causes severe problems for lots of reasons.
The primary one though, is that Newport are now more obliged to camp inside their own box and encourage The Magpies onto them deep in their own territory. As the game progresses, Newport legs get tired and Newcastle can introduce from the bench. This usually ends in someone hanging a leg and the referee pointing to the spot.
I like the market here, especially given the sheer amount of spot kicks floating about this year.
* Prices on our snazzy new bet widget are bang up to date.
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