Newport manager Michael Flynn has warned Tottenham’s Premier League stars to expect an FA Cup culture shock on Saturday.
Spurs head to south Wales for County’s first FA Cup fourth-round tie since 1979, with the Rodney Parade pitch showing the effects of Newport and two rugby teams playing on it during a gruelling winter.
The likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli will also be crammed into one of the smallest dressing rooms in English football, another factor that Flynn believes could help his Sky Bet League Two side spring a major shock.
“Rodney Parade will be a bit of a leveller,” Flynn said.
“The pitch is a lot better than it was, but it’s still not Wembley.
“It’s a little bit more lively than usual because there’s not as much grass on it now, and I’m hoping they have to take an extra touch that will allow us to get near them.
“The dug-out is not as comfortable as they are used to at White Hart Lane or Wembley, and the away changing room is quite small and cold.
“It’s going to be out of their comfort zone and hopefully one or two of them don’t handle it very well.”
Leeds certainly had an uncomfortable afternoon at Rodney Parade in the third round earlier this month when Newport shocked their Championship opponents to win 2-1.
Newport are unbeaten in three games since and, with Flynn following last season’s amazing escape from relegation with a promotion push, County appear in good shape to unsettle Spurs.
“I’ll be honest, I’m getting more confident as the week goes on,” Flynn said.
“You’ve got to factor in the atmosphere and surroundings – that’s the beauty of the FA Cup – and maybe Tottenham won’t be playing as strong a squad away as they would have at home.
“Everything is just factoring in and giving us more of a percentage of winning the game.
“We’ve got to believe we can go and cause an upset, otherwise we might as well just take the money from the ticket sales and give them the tie.”
It might be nearly 40 years since Newport – who reformed in 1989 after the original club went out of the business – last graced the fourth round of the FA Cup.
But the club have a proud history in knockout competitions, reaching the quarter-finals of the 1980-81 European Cup Winners’ Cup after winning the Welsh Cup the previous season.
Flynn believes playing Spurs in the modern era will have a more lasting effect on the club than their European exploits did over three decades ago.
“I think it’s a lot more important now, with all the money in the game, that you still have that fairytale story,” Flynn said.
“And it means everything to us because I think that we could get a generation of fans back now.
“I think we lost them when we went out of business. But this cup run has really captured the imagination of not just the football club, but the whole city.”
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