Newport manager Michael Flynn has outlined just exactly what may give his team the slightest chance of causing an upset when Manchester City pay a visit to his League Two outfit in the FA Cup fifth round on Saturday evening.
Flynn explained that his club's home ground, Rodney Parade, may be a difficult surface for the City players to adapt to. The Newport manager stated that Guardiola was right to be wary of it.
WHAT'S ON | Find out everything that's going on this afternoon at Rodney Parade ahead of our epic encounter with @ManCity by clicking the link below!— Newport County AFC (@NewportCounty) February 16, 2019
🕒 Rodney Parade Gates Open @ 3.30pm
🍽 🍻 Supporters Village open pre-match
✅ Running Order of the dayhttps://t.co/zvwcsQr76A
Speaking of the pitch, as reported in the Daily Mail, Flynn claimed that playing at the club's home ground - which also is shared by rugby outfits the Dragons and Newport RFC - may give his team a slight hope of doing something extraordinary in the tie.
"The pitch will suit us more than them," Flynn explained ahead of Newport's first FA Cup fifth-round appearance for 70 years. "I'm glad it will because it gives us more of a chance than if we had to go to the Etihad. But let's not blame the pitch or look for excuses. We've got to play out there as well. These players have a knack of rising to the occasion and they are a fantastic group."
Despite being part-synthetic, the ground is reported to be showing obvious signs of heavy wear and tear. The Wales women's national team also play on the ground as their home, meaning that in total Rodney Parade has already held over 60 football and rugby matches this season.
Man City manager Guardiola also spoke of the ground and had to deny rumours at his pre-match press conference that the City ground staff had deliberately churned up a training pitch to help the side's preparations.
"We have to adapt," he said. "It is what it is and we accept that challenge. We played in the Premier League against Tottenham after NFL games. We'll see what the pitch is like when we arrive. If you cannot play [normally], you have to play longer or quicker - but I don't know. We are going to see.
"You don't win absolutely anything complaining about that. When we play away, they are the owners of their stadium and they can play the pitch what it is."
🗣️ PRESS | "I want to give the supporters something to cheer and the players have got to believe that we can cause the biggest upset in the history of the FA Cup."— Newport County AFC (@NewportCounty) February 16, 2019
Manager Michael Flynn talks facing @ManCity later this evening. #OurJourneyContinues
👉 https://t.co/wp3VBtyBYA pic.twitter.com/4OKjLuwG2q
Newport are 82 places below English champions City on the league ladder, and even with the dodgy pitch to aid them, an upset win still looks pretty unfathomable. To put thing in perspective, the transfer value of City's most recent starting XI was estimated at £465m, compared to the £50,000 of League Two Newport.
Yet, when asked if there could be any chance of his side winning, Flynn replied defiantly: "Of course there can. Otherwise I'd just turn up, give them the game and say 'let's shake hands' and walk off. Who said we were going to draw with Tottenham last season or beat Leicester, Leeds and Middlesbrough?
"If we win this, whether it's extra time or penalties, and I don't care how we do it, it will be the biggest shock in FA Cup history. But I want to give the supporters something to cheer about and these players have to believe, which I know they do, that they can cause an upset."