Newport County of the Blue Square Bet Premier host League Two Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup in a match that the Welsh side will see as a welcome diversion: they are third from bottom in the Blue Square.
Shrewsbury, on the other hand, are flying high, currently fourth in League Two and pushing towards an automatic promotion spot. On paper they should win this match with some comfort. But this is the FA Cup and the romantic inside me says Newport look a tempting prospect at 3/1 (bet365 – £200 free bets).
In the final qualifying round, Justin Edinburgh’s Newport beat Braintree Town 4-3, and while Shrewsbury will be a different class, Edinburgh’s FA Cup experience (he won the competition as a player with Spurs in 1991) could see the Exiles edge through to round two.
The Shrews have a couple of potent poachers in James Collins and Marvin Morgan, who have bagged 13 goals between them in all competitions and could be too hot to handle for the Newport defence. But it’s Newport’s Danny Rose, with 10 goals already this season, who we can see getting on the score sheet on Saturday.
While it is always nice for the neutrals to see the non-league sides progress in this most famous of competitions, reality does sometimes smother romance. Newport have lost three of their last six home matches and will need to keep things tight while hoping to catch Shrewsbury cold on the day. Shrews manager Graham Turner has been around long enough to anticipate what could be coming their way on Saturday, however, and we think the visitors will have enough to make it to round two, shattering Newport’s FA Cup dreams in the process. So let your head rather than your heart rule and back Shrewsbury Town to win at best odds of evens (Betfred – £50 free betting).