'No heating, no comfort & changing in a drafty marquee' – Newport hotshot Padraig Amond predicts Newcastle United Carabao Cup 'culture shock'
From the luxury of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to a drafty marquee at Rodney Parade – Newcastle United are in for a Carabao Cup ‘culture shock’, according to Newport County hotshot Padraig Amond.
Steve Bruce’s Magpies head to Wales to face League Two opposition, gunning for a place in the last eight of the League Cup, just days after scraping a draw on opposition soil at Spurs.
And not only will they have to contend with one of the Football League’s biggest ‘giant killers’ of recent seasons, but they’ll also have to adapt to some less than welcoming conditions off the park, at the stadium ranked as one of the toughest in the fourth tier calendar to visit.
"Let’s just say, the players will not get the luxury of Spurs at Rodney Parade,” said Amond, an Irish former Hartlepool United striker who scored the winner in the last round of the competition at Championship Watford.
"Due to COVID restrictions Newcastle won’t be in the proper changing rooms – which are too tight – instead they’ll be in a marquee at the back of the stand.
"They need to hope it’s not windy and raining because there’s no heating out there and it will sure get cold before and after the game.
"You can do all you like to make it look nice before the game – and I’m sure the staff will – but it’s still just a marquee, with none of the home comforts the players will be used to at Premier League level.
"Newcastle United are in for a culture shock tonight – the only benefit they’ve got is that there are no fans here, because it’s a very tight ground and the fans are right on top of you. This is not an easy place for anyone to come to, especially when the pitch starts to cut up.”
In round one of the competition Newport saw off Swansea City in a Welsh derby, before dispatching of Watford, a Premier League team up until July, in round two – but this pales into comparison when you look at their cup exploits of recent times.
In 2018/19 Leicester City were beaten 2-1 in round three of the FA Cup with an 85th minute penalty from Amond proving the difference. Then in round four Middlesbrough were beaten after a replay – Amond again scoring. Round five brought Manchester City and despite Amond again hitting the back of the net, they eventually succumbed to Pep Guardiola & Co 4-1.
In 2017/18 Championship Leeds United got the Rodney Parade treatment, beaten 2-1. Then Spurs came close to a slip up, needing a replay to eventually see off Amond’s County, with the Irishman again among the goals.
"This is a free hit for us, we have been in this position before,” said the 32-year-old frontman.
"We believe we can cause an upset but we’re probably the only ones.
"We need to get off to a good start and see where that takes us. Newcastle have proven they have the quality and they proved on Sunday at Spurs they can grind it out and get a result, so we know they are a very good side.
"But if we can keep it tight and not start badly like Morecambe did in the last round, then we have to think we can get something. We always believe that.
"Either way it is a pleasure to have a club like Newcastle coming to our ground in a stage of the competition our club has never been to.”
Newport play in the last 16 of the League Cup for the first time in their history this evening.
Amond continued: “We know they are not going to take us lightly. We cannot afford to carry players.
"But I think when the draw was made Newcastle would definitely have preferred to play Watford than us. You can write off a defeat to a Championship side, but a loss to Newport would be a whole lot harder to swallow for the passionate, football-loving fans in Newcastle. I have played up there – I know how much passion there is for the game in the North East.
"No one thinks we can win this, but that’s the way we like it.”