Aaron O'Connor 'close' to return for County
7:01am Wednesday 1st January 2014 in Sport
STRIKER Aaron O’Connor is close to a return to fitness for Newport County AFC but manager Justin Edinburgh is reluctant to say when the player will be fit to play, writes Andrew Penman.
O’Connor, who was the club’s top scorer last season, has not played a competitive match since scoring at Wembley in the Conference play-off final victory over Wrexham last May.
He initially returned from a groin injury to feature in pre-season for the Exiles in July but a recurrence of the problem has sidelined him ever since and he has had surgery in an attempt to solve it.
Edinburgh said last month that the striker and midfielder Max Porter, also out with a groin injury, may be fit in time for the festive fixtures.
Both have returned to training but they are not yet ready for first team action.
“I don’t want to keep putting timescales on it. Aaron’s been out for a long time,” Edinburgh told the Argus this week.
“He’s close and he’s training but if I keep saying to you two or three weeks and he doesn’t come back (in that time) it’s a disappointment.
“I don’t want to keep putting pressure on the boy with timescales. He’ll be back when he’s ready.”
Edinburgh was also reluctant to talk about being linked with the vacant manager’s job at Championship club Millwall.
The Exiles boss is now fourth favourite at 10/1 behind Marc Bircham, Neil Harris and Shaun Derry with some bookies but when asked if there was any substance in the rumours he replied: “No, none whatsoever.”
Edinburgh was strongly linked to the job at League Two rivals Portsmouth last month and the club eventually rejected an official approach from the south coast club.
Should today’s home clash with Oxford United beat the weather his opposite number in the Rodney Parade dugouts will be Chris Wilde, who was interviewed for the Pompey job but eventually lost out to Richie Barker.
Like County, who lost 1-0 at Burton Albion, Oxford are also looking to bounce back from defeat on Sunday.
Wilder’s men were beaten 2-0 at home by fellow promotion contenders Scunthorpe United but they are unbeaten on the road in League Two with six wins and four draws.
“I’m concerned about (the Scunthorpe game), of course,” said Wilder.
“I’ve got to ask questions of the players now, they have come up with answers all season and they have to come up with them again.
“It’s part and parcel of a football season and we’re having a little one – three games without a win is the longest we’ve gone all season.
“We need to arrest that and dig in and show all the qualities people have talked about.
“We have the best away record in the country, we’re proud of that and we’ll need to go and play well on New Year’s Day to get something,” he added.
“The proof will be in the pudding.”
Comments are closed on this article.