Aaron O'Connor to be County's number nine
CONFERENCE top scorer Aaron O’Connor may wear seven, but he’s finally won the battle to be considered County’s number nine.
Despite chalking up league goals number 18 and 19 in Saturday’s 4-2 win at Lincoln, O’Connor has largely been deployed as a wide man in County’s 4-3-3 formation this term.
First Jefferson Louis, then Danny Crow and latterly Michael Smith have all been deployed centrally at his expense but O’Connor ended the game against Wrexham and started at the weekend as County’s fulcrum and he’s been sensational.
And with the signings of Christian Jolley and Robbie Willmott both natural wide players, O’Connor will now get to continue as an out and out centre forward.
“Aaron is a team player, people maybe don’t realise how many games he’s played for us out wide and looked a threat, but behind the scenes he’s been badgering and pestering me about playing that role (through the middle),” manager Justin Edinburgh explained.
“I think in the last two games, with how well he has played, he’s proved to me that is where his future lies really.”
Edinburgh was asked about whether he was concerned about keeping O’Connor and whether there has been interest in the player.
Having been deemed surplus to requirements at Luton, Edinburgh is confident O’Connor has no designs on leaving Rodney Parade.
“You keep asking me this,” he told the reporter.
“I’m sure there are people watching him, we’ve had no approaches or enquiries for him which hand on heart I’m surprised about, but I think sometimes the grass isn’t always greener.
“We have a very good relationship, I think you only have to look over his statistics in his previous career to see that he tends to play very well for myself.
“I know right now that he’s playing with a smile on his face and he’s revelling in the central area – unless he feels the right approach comes along and he wants to leave the football club, but I’d be very surprised.”
Edinburgh was also pleased with his two signings from Thursday and Friday, Cambridge capture Robbie Willmott and Wimbledon returnee Christian Jolley.
“I think the signing of Robbie slipped under the radar a little bit with the signing of Christian who is a massive capture for us,” he said.
“Not a lot was said about Robbie but I think he showed why he’s going to be a top, top player for us and a great signing.”
Edinburgh was aware it was a performance of two halves from County.
“We were excellent first half, the front three were unplayable, but we were very loose with our performance in the second half and I’m aware on another day we might have got pegged back in the game.
“But attacking in the first half was excellent, the front threes pace, being a defender myself I know it's one thing you don't want to come up against.
“We utilized it very well and got them into areas where defenders don't want to go and when we got the chances we were clinical.
But we didn't provide the front three the chances in the second half.”
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