No fears of fixture pile-up repeat for Justin Edinburgh
5:02pm Sunday 22nd December 2013 in Sport
NEWPORT County AFC manager Justin Edinburgh has dismissed concerns that the postponement of Saturday’s clash with AFC Wimbledon could be the first of many at Rodney Parade this season.
The League Two match was postponed by the referee on Saturday lunchtime due to a waterlogged pitch and will be rearranged at a later date.
It was the only fixture in the Football League to be called off on Saturday and all but one Conference game, at Braintree, also went ahead as planned.
Saturday was the first official day of winter and with concerns over the effectiveness of the drainage work done on the pitch over the summer and more heavy rain forecast over the coming weeks it could be a long hard winter for the Exiles.
Last season saw three matches postponed at Rodney Parade and that, along with the numerous rearrangements of the Gateshead away fixture, led to a fixture pile-up that contributed greatly to County’s Conference title challenge hitting the rocks.
Work to improve the drainage system at the ground was carried out in the summer but the £80,000 project was only partially completed and will have to be finished next summer.
But Edinburgh says it is too early to worry about a potential fixture pile-up halting his side’s challenge for promotion to League One this campaign.
“I don’t see us getting into the kind of problems we got into last season. There is no worry there,” said the Exiles boss.
“Obviously we don’t know what the weather has to throw at us but it won’t be a problem to fit in one game as we’ve got plenty of free midweek dates in the New Year.”
And Edinburgh is in no doubt that the correct decision was made on Saturday.
“There were areas that were unplayable,” he said. “It’s a difficult decision for the referee to make but I think he made the right one.
“The safety of players has to be the paramount and the quality of the game for the paying public is important as well.
“We fear nobody; we’ve got the best home record in the league so there’s no reason why we wouldn’t want to play it.
“But I think you’ve got to look at the bigger picture and the ref made the right decision.”
County share the Rodney Parade pitch with the city’s rugby sides Newport Gwent Dragons and Newport RFC and both are due to play at the ground before the Exiles next home game against Oxford United on New Year’s Day.
The Dragons host Cardiff Blues on Boxing Day and Newport take on Cross Keys on Saturday, December 28.
The Black & Ambers’ Swalec Cup tie at home to Bonymaen on Saturday, January 4, will now be played at Newbridge as County are at home to Northampton on the same day.
Football League rules state that round ball fixtures must take priority in a ground-sharing situation.
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