FA Cup: Manchester United fourth round tie biggest in Newport County’s history – Graham Coughlan

Newport County manager Graham Coughlan with top goal scorer Will Evans
Newport County’s top goal scorer Will Evans (right) scores the club’s third goal against Eastleigh on Tuesday

Newport County manager Graham Coughlan says facing Manchester United in the FA Cup fourth round will be the biggest game in the club’s history.

Newport have hosted several Premier League teams in recent years but Coughlan, a United fan as a child, says this game will be the biggest.

“It’ll be a hell of an occasion,” Coughlan told BBC Sport Wales.

“It’s a fourth round tie against Manchester United, for me the biggest club in this country, in Europe and in the world.

“I know some people would lean towards the fifth round game against Manchester City, but I’d say Manchester United all day long.”

Coughlan’s family remain staunch United fans, and the idea of facing the 12-time FA Cup winners was something the Newport manager struggled to come to terms with immediately after beating Eastleigh.

“We’re a big Manchester United family, we’ve been to FA Cup finals with them,” Coughlan said.

“I can’t get my head around it to be honest, they are unbelievable names.

“Just to have Manchester United coming to Rodney Parade is a hell of an achievement.

“I don’t know when it will sink in, I’m sure my family are doing Irish jigs around the house at the moment.”

After failing to beat 10-man Eastleigh at Rodney Parade two weeks ago, pressure on the replay at Silverlake Stadium was ramped up after the fourth-round draw was made.

Ahead of Tuesday’s game, Coughlan said he was ignoring the “pantomime” surrounding a potential tie against United.

But following the win over Eastleigh, Coughlan admitted his words on Monday were an attempt to take pressure off is players – who he said have “run through brick walls” for him.

“I didn’t want our players to feel under pressure so I had to play it down a little bit,” said Coughlan.

“I’m massively proud of them, tonight is about Newport County, about those players, this football club and the supporters who turned up tonight in their numbers.

“This means a lot to the football club and this group of players, they have run through brick walls and put their bodies on the line since I’ve come in the front door.”

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