Match Preview: Newport County (H)
EFL League Two
The Hive London
Saturday, January 21, 2017 – KO 3pm
Team News: Jamie Stephens (groin) missed last weekend’s 3-1 loss to Doncaster Rovers after being substituted early in the win at Leyton Orient a fortnight ago.
Michael Gash (knee), Shaun Batt (hamstring) and Ben Tomlinson (quad) are all long-term absentees.
Last Time We Met: After the original tie in South Wales was washed out in September, the Bees went to Rodney Parade again in October and came away with a point from a 2-2 draw following a late Newport equaliser.
The Exiles went ahead in the first half when Ben Tozer flicked a cross from the right past Josh Vickers into the far corner.
But Barnet levelled when a long Sam Muggleton throw was helped on by Mauro Vilhete for John Akinde to nod home at the back post.
Akinde then put the Bees in front, latching onto Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro’s clever flick around the corner and hammering into the roof of the net at the near post.
But, as time was running out, Sean Rigg levelled from the spot for the hosts following a trip by Akpa Akpro in the box.
Manager: Former Bees striker Graham Westley, 48, scored once in three outings for Barnet in 1987 before going on to play for Wycombe Wanderers, Kingstonian, Wealdstone and Enfield among others.
After retiring in 1994, Westley returned to former clubs Kingstonian and Enfield to start his managerial career before taking the reins at Farnborough Town in 1999.
In four seasons with the Hampshire side he won the Isthmian Premier Division and Isthmian League Cup.
That caught the eye of Stevenage and he moved to Broadhall Way in 2003, starting an on-off relationship with the Hertfordshire side which most recently ended in 2015.
In his second Westley guided Boro into the Football League in 2010 – after winning the FA Trophy a year earlier – and followed that up by clinching a place in League One.
A 13-month stay at Preston North End was not as successful and in March 2013 he returned to Stevenage for a third stint, taking the club into the League Two play-offs where they lost to Southend United.
Westley took the Newport job in October after a seven-month stint with Peterborough United in which he came up short in the hunt for the play-offs.
Dangerman: Experienced forward Craig Reid has been brought back to Rodney Parade during the January transfer window after scoring 66 times in 112 outings for the Exiles between 2008 and 2011.
Born in Coventry, the 31-year-old started his career with his local side but was released without making a first-team appearance.
Reid struggled to make an impact in spells with Cheltenham Town and Grays Athletic before moving to Newport on loan in 2008.
Four goals in ten games saw him sign permanently, winning the Conference South in 2010. The following year, while at Stevenage, he won the League Two play-offs to make it two promotions in as many seasons.
Reid left Stevenage, where he worked under Westley, in 2012 before returning in 2014 – briefly – between spells at Aldershot Town, Southend United and Lincoln City among others.
Connections: Jamie Stephens joined Barnet following his release from Newport County ahead of the 2015/16 campaign.
The reigning Bees Player of the Season made 13 appearances for the Exiles in two seasons at Rodney Parade before moving to The Hive ahead of Barnet’s first season back in the Football League.
Midfielder Mark Randall went in the opposite direction this summer, leaving Barnet after a six-month stay at The Hive. The former Arsenal youngster signed from MK Dons in January and was a regular for Martin Allen’s side before heading to South Wales.
Current Gillingham midfielder Mark Byrne was County skipper before trading South Wales for Kent in the summer following a two-year stay with the Exiles.
Released by Barnet at the end of the 2013/14 season, Byrne proved himself after being handed a short-term contract with Newport and quickly became a key cog before earning the captain’s armband.
Three-time Bees Player of the Year Lee Harrison was assistant manager at Newport under Anthony Hudson and stood in as caretaker manager for one match in 2011, losing 2-0 to Darlington.
Last Time Out: The Exiles ended an eight-game losing streak with a creditable 1-1 draw at home to play-off hopefuls Colchester United last weekend.
Swansea City loanee Josh Sheehan fired Newport in front with a deflected effort on 23 minutes before Chris Porter levelled from the spot for the U’s in the 35th minute.
Newport County: (5-3-2): Day; Pipe, Nelson, O’Brien, Jones, Butler, Sheehan, Bennett, Randall; Reid, Williams.
Ticket info: Supporters can order tickets for tomorrow’s match from our online box office or by arriving early and buying on the day from The Hive Ticket Office.