Newport v Pompey: The Insider

Regan Poole has joined Manchester United Picture: Gordon Clayton
Regan Poole has joined Manchester United Picture: Gordon Clayton
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It has not been the best seasons so far for Newport, although for a large part the performances have been better than the results.

Having said that, it has been pretty dire in recent weeks – the final match of Terry Butcher’s reign, in particular.

The Exiles hosted Crawley, it was 92nd against 91st, and ended up losing 3-0. In truth, it could have been five or six and it was the writing on the wall for Butcher.

He was replaced by John Sheridan, whose first match was encouraging in a 1-1 draw against Exeter.

Then last weekend they lost 3-0 at Mansfield and it was awful, prompting new loan signings Tommy O’Sullivan and Jazzi Barnum-Bobb to arrive in the week.

Problems started in the summer when chairman Les Scadding decided not to put in any more of the money he won in the EuroMillions Lottery.

The club’s trust have since taken over, which has meant a reduction in budget and a removal of the squad which had been paid very well over the past two seasons.

Pretty much everyone left as they could no longer be afforded, and Butcher was instructed to perform a complete rebuild from scratch.

Any manager would have struggled in that situation.

With 15 new faces, it was always going to take a while for them to settle in and get to know each other.

Butcher put real faith in youngsters, partly because he didn’t have a lot of choice considering the injuries and amount of players leaving. At one point there were three or four teenagers in the side.

The fans were willing to give him time, but after 10 matches and one win at Carlisle the patience was wearing thin.

Then Crawley won at Rodney Parade.

Last season Newport just missed out on the play-offs, and with a whole new squad most people would have been happy with mid-table security. Now that is something they dream of.

Sheridan has played 4-4-2 in his first two matches in charge while getting to know the players, and from his press conference yesterday the suggestion is he is working on a new system.

Barnum-Bobb is a right wing-back so that indicates where he is going with that.

As for the squad, Mark Byrne scored the winner against Pompey in this fixture last season – and very few others from then remain.

He is captain and the star man who has carried the team for most of the season.

Another, Regan Poole, was sold to Manchester United on transfer deadline day so they got a bit of money for him.