Emotional day for Justin Edinburgh against his first club
NEWPORT County AFC manager Justin Edinburgh faces his first professional club at Rodney Parade today – 23 years after he left.
The Essex-born Exiles boss started his playing career at Southend United before moving on to London giants Tottenham Hotspur in 1990.
Edinburgh has not faced the Shrimpers in a competitive match since and he admits that today’s match will be extra special for him.
“This was the first fixture I looked for when we returned to the Football League,” he said.
“I’m really looking forward to it. I had four very good seasons there after I joined from school and I’m very grateful that they gave me the opportunity to start my football career off.
“I’ve never come up against them since I left and I still live in the area so I’m sure I’ll have a few people going to the return match down there.”
Edinburgh is also pleased to be going up against another high profile manager in Phil Brown after getting the better of Nigel Worthington’s York City last week.
“It will be a good test to pit my wits again against a manager who not so long ago was a Premiership manager,” he said.
“Not too long ago he was up against Mourinho and Ferguson but, fair play to Phil, he’s been prepared to come and get his hands dirty in division two.
“He’s at a good club, well supported, and he’s had to be patient with the transfer embargo but they’ve shown a bit of consistency of late and we’re going to have a tough game.
“The sides are very evenly matched and they’ve done well on the road so it will be a difficult one for us.”
Edinburgh is delighted to have Christian Jolley available again this afternoon after he was sidelined for five weeks with a groin injury.
And the Exiles boss says his other casualties are doing well.
“Aaron O’Connor has had is operation now and he’s already started his rehab, which will be eight weeks,” he explained.
“Max Porter is doing well, as is Byron Anthony and this group has an unbelievable spirit, they will lift the players who are out.
“They are still an integral part of training here and we know they are mentally strong and big characters.”
Midfielder Ryan Burge is now thought to be two weeks from fitness but Andrew Hughes is fit to return at centre-back, while Robbie Willmott will continue at left wing-back.
“I’ve been delighted with Robbie,” he said. “His versatility is his own downfall but it’s a manager’s joy.
“He gets frustrated because he wants to play in one position and nail that down but he’s a joy for me and I think he’s been outstanding.
“There’s no doubt he’ll continue in that role on Saturday.”
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