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Preview: Barrow vs. Newport County - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Barrow vs. Newport County - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Friday's League Two clash between Barrow and Newport County, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Barrow will be aiming to overtake Newport County in the League Two table when they host the Exiles on Friday night.

The Bluebirds are currently 15th in the fourth tier on nine points, while Michael Flynn's men sit two points better off in 13th.

Match preview

This is Barrow's second season in League Two after they ended a 48-year exile from the Football League last year.

After caretaker manager Rob Kelly helped the club survive relegation by five points in 2020-21, former Swindon Town and Forest Green Rovers boss Mark Cooper took the reins in Cumbria in the summer but has overseen just two wins from the first eight league games.

Last weekend, Barrow drew 1-1 away at pre-season promotion favourites Bradford City, with Cooper praising his side's "desire and commitment" as they dealt with several absentees.

Josh Kay gave the Bluebirds a first-half lead at Valley Parade, but Charles Vernam equalised for the Bantams after the break.

Barrow are just two points above the relegation zone but only three points behind the playoff places at this early stage, but Cooper will hope to be looking up the table in the next few weeks.

Newport certainly have their sights set on promotion this year after an extra-time defeat to Morecambe in the League Two playoff final in May – their second playoff final defeat in three seasons.

A win at Holker Street would take the Exiles into the top six after an inconsistent start to the campaign.

Flynn's side ended a four-game winless streak in League Two with a 2-1 victory over Walsall last weekend, secured by James Clarke's 87th-minute header.

This will be Newport's sixth away match of their first nine league games, after they played their first four fixtures of the season on the road due to a new pitch being laid at Rodney Parade.

Recent history is in Barrow's favour though, as when these two teams met last season, it finished 2-1 to the home side on both occasions.

Barrow League Two form:
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • D

Barrow form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D

Newport County League Two form:
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • W

Newport County form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • W

Team News

Barrow captain Mark Ellis and fellow defender James Jones are available for selection after serving suspensions in recent weeks.

The pair's return should allow top scorer Ollie Banks to move back into midfield after he was deployed as a makeshift centre-back against Bradford.

Cooper has said that full-back Connor Brown has an "outside chance" of returning from injury, but Matty Platt is still sidelined.

Newport striker Courtney Baker-Richardson was on the books at Barrow last season but never played for the Bluebirds; he could make his first Exiles start on Friday after recovering from a pre-season injury.

Flynn will be without Scot Bennett and Courtney Senior, who are both sidelined.

Robbie Willmott is the only County player to score more than one league goal this season, but missed last weekend's win over Walsall.

Barrow possible starting lineup:
Farman; Jones, Grayson, Ellis; Hutton, Taylor, Banks, Kay, Brough; Gordon, Zanzala

Newport County possible starting lineup:
Day; Clarke, Farquharson, Demetriou; Norman, Upson, Livermore, Haynes; Willmott, Abraham, Baker-Richardson

We say: Barrow 1-1 Newport County

With multiple players returning, Barrow will be strengthened for this game and eager to get a win on the board. Newport do have more quality than the Bluebirds, but may have to settle for a share of the points away from home.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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