BORO RE­TURN

New­port mid­fielder Matty Dolan looks for­ward to the FA Cup fourth round

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Chris Dunlavy

BORO boy Matty Dolan is hop­ing to “get one over” his old club when se­rial slay­ers New­port travel to the River­side in the FA Cup fourth round.

Dolan 25, was part of the Ex­iles side that shocked Premier League Le­ices­ter last week­end cour­tesy of a late penalty from Padraig Amond.

Those hero­ics fol­lowed hot on the heels of last sea­son’s epic run, which saw Leeds dis­patched in round three and Spurs held at Rod­ney Pa­rade be­fore even­tu­ally win­ning 2-0 at Wem­b­ley.

Home ad­van­tage and an­other big fish topped the wish­list of most New­port fans, lead­ing to dis­ap­point­ment when Mid­dles­brough emerged from the hat.

But for Dolan, who spent over a decade in the club’s academy, the draw was far from a damp squib.

“I was there from the age of seven right up un­til I left for Brad­ford at the age of 20,” says the mid­fielder, who joined the Ex­iles from Yeovil in 2017.

Qual­ity

“Ev­ery­thing I know about foot­ball, I learned at that club. They’ve got a qual­ity academy set-up and a lot of the lads from my age group have gone on to forge a de­cent ca­reer in the game.

“Sadly, I think all my mates have moved on now. Char­lie Wyke is at Sun­der­land. Ben Gib­son has gone to Burn­ley. Luke Wil­liams is at Hartle­pool.

“But some of the older heads are still around. Ge­orge Friend is cap­tain now. Grant Lead­bit­ter is some­one I’ve got a lot of re­spect for, not just for what he’s done in the game but for how much he helped us com­ing through. It’ll be great to come up against him.

“I’m a Hartle­pool lad so I’ve got a few mates who sup­port Boro. They’ll all be try­ing to get to the game and I’ll sure they’ll make a day out of it. It’ll ob­vi­ously be nice to get back up north for a bit and, hope­fully, put on a show for the fam­ily.”

And show Boro what they’re miss­ing? “You al­ways think that, don’t you?” laughs Dolan. “I didn’t play for the first team, what­ever that was down to. I made the choice to move away and it’s worked out well. But yeah, you al­ways want to get one over an old club.”

Con­fi­dence

Dolan and co will make the long jour­ney north full of con­fi­dence after last Sun­day’s 2-1 tri­umph, when a strong Le­ices­ter side was kept at arm’s length for long pe­ri­ods.

Hav­ing forged ahead through Jamille Matt, a won­der-strike from £10m winger Rachid Ghez­zal ap­peared to have sal­vaged a for­tu­nate re­play for the Foxes with just eight min­utes to play - only for Marc Al­brighton’s hand­ball to gift Amond a chance from 12 yards.

“The ex­pe­ri­ence of go­ing 1-0 up against Spurs last year prob­a­bly helped us,” adds Dolan. “We knew they would press on to us and we were fully pre­pared to soak up a bit of pres­sure. I think we did that quite well, and we also dealt with the at­mos­phere a lot bet­ter this time.

“Of course, a team like that has loads of qual­ity. The striker (Kelechi Iheana­cho) alone cost £25m and you saw the goal they scored.

“But the lads ate that dis­ap­point­ment bril­liantly, showed a bit of char­ac­ter and Podge hardly ever misses from the spot.”

Now it is all about Boro and, de­spite singing the praises of Tony Pulis’ side, Dolan is con­fi­dent the gi­ant-killing can con­tinue un­abated.

He added: “We al­ways fancy our­selves in a one-off game, so why can’t we go up there and cause an­other upset?”

PIC­TURES: PA Images

TAN­GLE: New­port’S Matt Dolan and Le­ices­ter’s James Mad­di­son bat­tle for the ball ON A HIGH: Padraig Amond cel­e­brates his win­ner against Le­ices­ter last Sun­day

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