Porter KO fears to force Edinburgh into using loan market
NEWPORT County AFC manager Justin Edinburgh will look to strengthen his squad for the title run-in amid fears that Max Porter could be out for the rest of the season.
Midfield linchpin Porter has not played since the 4-2 win at Lincoln City on January 12 due to a persistent groin injury and Edinburgh admits that he doesn’t know when the player will be fit to return.
Striker Danny Crow and winger Ben Swallow are also sidelined with hamstring injuries and Edinburgh is reluctant to rush top scorer Aaron O’Connor back into the starting XI.
And with a hectic schedule of five games in 11 days, starting at home to Macclesfield Town today, the Exiles boss aims to bring in reinforcements before next Thursday’s emergency loan deadline.
“We might have to strengthen the side and bring in one or two players before next Thursday,” said Edinburgh.
“The number of games we have to play means we might need to look at that.
“It’s going to test us and the disappointment with Max having a setback adds to that.
“Ben Swallow has had a slight setback as well so I’ll sit down with Les (Scadding, chairman) Howard (Greenhaf, director) and Tim (Harris, director of football).
“The board have always backed me and I’m sure they will do again.
“They know how important this crucial time is and with the prize of promotion right there in front of us.
“The finishing line is so close now and as much as we’re being tested I’m sure we want to do everything we can to get over it.”
He added: “We need to look at the whole squad and target a couple of utility players.
“I think we’re strong up top but in midfield if Max isn’t going to return before the end of the season, that’s an area where we may need to strengthen.”
Edinburgh admits that the uncertainty over Porter’s injury is a real blow as his side attempt to win promotion to the Football League.
“It is really disappointing for us as a football club and for the boy personally,” he said.
“He’s had a recurrence of his groin injury and we’re going to need a second opinion on the problem and at the moment we can’t put a time-scale on how long he’ll be out.
“It’s dragged on with Max and it’s becoming a bit complicated but we know he’s not going to be involved in our next three or four games.
“He’s been a pivotal player for us, probably the most consistent throughout the season so it’s a blow but it’s testament to the squad that we’ve coped without him and Aaron over the last few months.”
Crow is unlikely to return before the match at his former club Cambridge United on Friday, April 5, and Edinburgh warned fans not to expect too much too soon from O’Connor after he returned from a torn thigh muscle as a substitute in last week’s 1-1 draw at Ebbsfleet United.
“Crowy has had his scan and there is a small grade two tear on the hamstring,” he explained. “He should be back within three to four weeks.
“Aaron only came on for 20 minutes last week and as a manager you’ve got to be aware of the number of games we’ve got coming up.
“Maybe he’s not ready to start just yet and we may need to ease him back in.
“He’s a fantastic specimen and there’s always the temptation to start him but Saturday might come too soon for Aaron.”
County host promotion rivals Kidderminster Harriers on Tuesday night before trips to York, Stockport and Southport but Edinburgh is fully focused on today’s opponents at Rodney Parade.
“Macclesfield will be dangerous. They’re in good form and probably feel they should be closer to the play-offs than they are with the money they had coming down,” he said. “They gave us a good test at their place earlier in the season and we have to be aware that it will be a tricky game for us."