Newport midfielder Matty Dolan looks forward to the FA Cup fourth round
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.
“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.”
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?”
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