Eyes on Parade

WORK is ongoing in South Wales to ensure that the Rodney Parade pitch is in the best possible condition when it hosts Newport County v Argyle...

... in the Emirates FA Cup second round replay on Wednesday night. 

BT Sport cameras – and many expectant Argyle and County fans – will be on hand to view the game, and some eyes will be on the playing surface in Newport, which for many years has had its problems. 

The ground is owned by Newport Rugby Club, who are a feeder club to regional side Newport Gwent Dragons, who also use Rodney Parade. The pitch, therefore, tends to suit the needs to the two oval-ball sides that use it rather than those that need it for football purposes. 

Newport’s last home game – admittedly played in horrendous weather conditions – was abandoned because of the waterlogged state of the field, but steps are being taken to ensure the playing surface passes muster for Argyle’s visit. 

“They’ve taken every possible measure,” said Argyle boss Derek Adams. “They have a balloon tent over the top to protect it from the rain. 

“The FA have obviously assisted in it, and credit to them. It helps Newport under difficult circumstances. We are just hopeful the rain stays off. 

“There was a rugby game there on Friday night. But we have to deal with the circumstance. They are playing there for one reason or another – and we’ll deal with it. 

“It’s not the easiest pitch to play on. It can be bobbly and sticky in certain patches. It’s a rugby pitch, and Newport are playing their games there. 

“You can’t play pretty football on it. It’s not conducive to that. You have to play in a different style. They are not easy venues to go to, but we have done well there in the past.”