Ismail Yakubu set to miss Wimbledon clash
ISMAIL Yakubu is unlikely to be fit to face his former club AFC Wimbledon on Saturday as Newport County AFC look to force their way into the top three before Christmas.
The defender was expected to be fit to play at Portsmouth last weekend but failed a late fitness test and the hip injury he picked up at leaders Oxford United last month has prevented him training this week.
Manager Justin Edinburgh is expecting to go into Saturday’s match at Rodney Parade with the same squad that triumphed 2-0 at Fratton Park.
That would mean Andy Sandell continuing to deputise in central defence and serving as a back-up goalkeeper with Ryan Jackson at left wing-back.
Jackson has recovered from an ankle injury picked up last week and striker Conor Washington should also be fit to face Wimbledon.
“It doesn’t look like Ish will be fit,” said Edinburgh. “But Conor is back in training. He had a clash of heads but he’s fine now.
“Ryan Jackson picked up a knock on his ankle but he has trained as well so the squad will be virtually the same as for the Portsmouth game.
“That was a very good performance and the win was nothing less than we deserved,” he added.
“We’ve always had the belief that we could go away and play good football and we got the points to go with that at Portsmouth.”
Back at Rodney Parade this Saturday, Edinburgh is confident of maintaining the best home record in League Two.
“We’ve made Rodney Parade a fortress and we look to continue that momentum,” said the Exiles boss.
“It’s another test for us. Wimbledon have had a solid start and we know one or two of their players.
“Michael Smith had a previous loan spell here and is continuing his development so we know that we have to keep a close eye on him.
“But we always try to concentrate on ourselves and it’s about us maintaining the form we’re in and keeping up the tremendous work rate that we’ve shown all season.”
A win could see the Exiles sitting in the automatic promotion places come Christmas Day and Edinburgh says the season has exceeded his expectations so far.
“We are well ahead of where we could have imagined us being,” he said.
“My remit was to make sure we maintained our League status and we’re well on the way to doing that but where we are now we have to certainly look onwards and upwards.
“We’re coming up to half way in the season and we have a busy period coming up so if we can continue to be competitive we can continue to look up and try to keep ourselves in the mix and look for another promotion.”
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