Middlesbrough’S manager Tony Pulis has been involved in football for over four decades, but he will still be afforded a unique moment in his distinguished career today.
Pulis, a proud Newportonian, is pitted against his hometown club for the first time,.
A host of family and friends from south Wales will be in attendance at the Riverside Stadium in the sort of evocative FA Cup tie that the world’s most enduring Cup competition throws up regularly.
The meeting also offers a further spot of nostalgia given that a former Boro manager in Lennie Lawrence, director of football with the Exiles, also returns to Teesside.
Yet given the fact that Boro were unceremoniously bounced out of the Carabao Cup in embarrassing fashion by lower-league opponents in Burton just before Christmas, which saw the hosts booed off, there will not be too much sentiment on offer.
Pulis, from the Newport district of Pillgwenlly, said: “It is nice to touch base with a few friends.
“But as soon as that whistle goes at three o’clock we will want to win. He (Newport manager Michael Flynn) is a good lad and he has done a very good job there. They are very committed and well organised.
“You look at their games against Tottenham and Leicester – they are playing against Premier League opposition and haven’t looked out of place.
“They are a group of players who can lift themselves and that is always a danger in the Cup. We have to make sure we are on it.”
Former Boro captain Grant Leadbitter is close to sealing a move to hometown club Sunderland, where he started his career.
Pulis has confirmed that he is not in the market for winger Yannick Bolaise following his return to Everton following a loan move at Aston Villa.