County hopeful on pitch after technology boost
12:01am Friday 3rd January 2014 in Sport
NEWPORT County are confident tomorrow’s clash with Northampton will go ahead, but are warning that the club felt a financial pinch from their two Christmas postponements, writes Michael Pearlman.
The Exiles are set to face Northampton at Rodney Parade and are bullish the game will beat the weather after a two-pronged improvement plan to help the playing surface was put into action.
The Exiles hired the services of Glamorgan CCC’s Keith Exton, who did a ‘verti-drain’ of the surface on New Year’s Day, digging into the pitch with a nine inch deep fork to help the current drainage system.
County have also used water hogs from the Celtic Manor and have now taken another step by hiring a ‘Blotter’ machine, designed to deal directly with the problem of standing water on the pitch. These are also commonly used in cricket grounds.
“We are hopeful the verti-drain will be a significant help and we have the use of a blotter as well that we have hired,” County CEO Dave Boddy explained.
The Exiles are desperate to get back to action and admit the loss of the festive games have impacted them financially.
“The games against Wimbledon and Oxford, we estimated we’d make about £100,000 and will now do well to get £70,000 for the rearranged clashes,” he said.
“It’s never nice to lose games to the weather, but it’s especially damaging when it happens for those festive games.”
Meanwhile, the Argus can reveal that the Exiles are in the dark over their prospects of retaining defender Adedeji Oshilaja from neighbours Cardiff City.
The 20-year old central defender has been a key component for County in the past few months, impressing the Rodney Parade faithful since joining on an initial one-month deal.
Newport have kept seven clean sheets in the dozen games since Oshilaja signed, leading to County enquiring as to his availability for the remainder of the campaign.
The Exiles had hoped to extend their agreement with Oshilaja, as they were able to with Derby County’s Tom Naylor, but the managerial upheaval in the capital has dampened those hopes with tomorrow’s clash with Northampton Oshilaja’s last under the existing deal.
It is understood County don’t have a direct line of communication to the Bluebirds and are hoping to rekindle talks now new boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær has officially taken charge.
“We haven’t been able to progress that one, we hope to open talks because the loan is very nearly up,” a County spokesman confirmed.
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