Rowberry warns Newport County against Crawley’s powerful counter

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AFC NEWPORT COUNTY manager James Rowberry has warned his players of being caught on the break by one of the most powerful counter-attacking teams in League Two this afternoon.

Crawley heads for Rodney Parade 12th in the table, too far for a late push for the play-offs but comfortably clear of trouble down below.

However, there is no danger of them scoring under hardline manager John Yems and they go to Newport with three wins from their last four games.

Crawley has the fourth-lowest average possession percentage in League Two, but patience will be key for the Exiles, who can’t afford to be hit by a punch.

OPENING: Crawley hit the forward in the sides’ draw in November

“They’re very well organized and very structured, and one of the best counterattacking teams in the division with the top three they have,” Rowberry warned.

“They switch between systems quite often in games, but went for a 3-4-3 with Jack Payne and Jake Hessenthaler in midfield, then two 10s and a 9.

“We have to be prepared for that and well prepared – we’ll have to defend well when we have the ball, if that makes sense.

“They also have ball game skills and it’s going to be a tough game.

“We will have to be patient in our build, be patient taking the ball from behind and patient playing between the lines.”

County would like to hit the front early to calm down in the tight and tense promotion race.

“We’re a quick-starting team,” Rowberry said. “We weren’t so much against Exeter [in the last home game] because they did particularly well with us when we turned the ball over with that first pass in transition.”

County drew 1-1 at Crawley in November when Dom Telford scored in the closing stages to cancel out Kwesi Appiah’s opener on stopped play.

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