MICHAEL PEARLMAN SAYS: County may have found new hero
11:21am Tuesday 20th August 2013 in Sport
HURDLES one and two cleared for Newport County AFC then as they begin to adjust to life in League Two.
The Exiles faced dual obstacles on Saturday with a need to bounce back from the defeat at Northampton and to show they could hold their nerve in the big occasion contests, the Rovers clash was one fans will have anticipated since the summer.
County under Justin Edinburgh are made of stern stuff and by all accounts they were comfortable on Saturday and could and should have enjoyed a more flattering winning margin.
A bumper crowd and sizeable away contingent didn’t daunt the Exiles and we are increasingly growing confident of a good season – I am anyway – based on Justin Edinburgh’s uncanny nous in the transfer market.
It would merely waste words to list all the terrific signings Edinburgh has made in his tenure as Newport boss but two acquisitions I feel will really be justified in the coming weeks come from the opposite ends of the scale.
Edinburgh has taken a horrible situation with defender Byron Anthony’s horrific broken leg and turned it into a positive as much as he possibly could, the swift signing of Derby County’s Tom Naylor a masterful piece of work.
Naylor stood out head-and-shoulders above the rest in the Exiles’ play-off tussle with Grimsby last term and Edinburgh obviously didn’t forget. And if his impossibly promising debut on Saturday is anything to go by, Edinburgh has found another winner.
However, I’ve got an increasing suspicion that the signing that will properly seal Edinburgh’s position as one of British football’s best up and coming managers in that of Conor Washington.
However good a goal record one has in part-time football, it’s still a brave manager who gambles the player could replicate that success in the Football League. But Newport’s postman turned poacher looks a man transformed over the summer, his physical appearance morphing from boy to man, seemingly overnight.
He looks a very natural goalscorer and whatever level of football one competes at, they will always be coveted.
I expect Washington to feature more and more as the campaign unfolds and he could well end up as the Exiles’ chief striking threat. And considering the competition that would be some feat.
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