Inside track: What can Hartlepool United expect from Newport County as Graeme Lee's side travel to Rodney Parade

Hartlepool United travel to Newport County this evening looking to get back to winning ways after their defeat to Bradford City.

Pools are contesting their third game in six days against a Newport side who moved into the top three in midweek with their third straight win.

But just what can Graeme Lee’s side expect from their trip to Rodney Parade? We asked South Wales Argus reporter Chris Kirwan for the inside track on James Rowberry’s side.

How are Newport doing this season in relation to pre-season expectations?

Hartlepool United travel to Rodney Parade to face Newport County this evening. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

I’d say that County are doing slightly better than hoped before the campaign, when there was a fear there would be a Wembley hangover.

There was plenty of change over the summer but the expectation was still that they’d be in the mix for the play-offs.

They’ve done that, but are also right in contention for the top three - although there is still plenty to do given how tight things are.

Like Pools, there has been a period of transition at Newport with the changing of manager. How has that worked out so far? Is Michael Flynn a miss?

Former manager Michael Flynn is a Newport County legend. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Flynn is a County legend but it seems to be best for both parties for a change, and it’s good to see him doing well at the start of his Walsall career.

James Rowberry hasn’t made major changes and has just tinkered with what Flynn did. He’s got them pressing with energy and they are a real threat when they win the ball high up the pitch.

Some of the attacking play has been terrific and of late they have shown some real grit in defence. Rowberry is a Newport boy who cut his coaching teeth at Cardiff and has been a great fit for the club.

What can Pools expect from Newport in terms of style of play? Is there any team news?

County can play 3-5-2 but of late they have gone with 4-2-2-2. They like to build from the back and shift the ball but aren’t afraid to mix it up and go long.

They have quite a lengthy injury list at the moment with central defenders Josh Pask and Priestley Farquharson, midfielder Robbie Willmott and striker Courtney Baker-Richardson out.

Centre-back James Clarke went off at Carlisle on Tuesday so Cam Norman is likely to move in from right-back.

Who are the danger men to watch out for?

League Two top scorer Dom Telford is clearly a threat but Finn Azaz has been the star man recently.

The skilful Aston Villa midfielder has had a superb season and is a key figure in the final third with fast feet and vision.

He scored with a late run into the box in midweek but can also hammer them in from distance, as he showed with a cracker against Tranmere last month.

Newport grabbed a late winner in the reverse fixture back in November, how do you see this one playing out?

County certainly won’t be taking Hartlepool lightly but if they are to be a top-three side then they have to win home games like this, especially after digging deep on the road at Stevenage and Carlisle.

It won’t be easy and there is the danger of both teams being a little leggy after this hectic spell of three games in seven days.

I’ll go for a home win but I’ve covered enough County games to know that it’s rarely routine with them.

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