Chris Zebroski back to boost Exiles promotion push
NEWPORT County AFC welcome back top scorer Chris Zebroski as they aim to get their promotion challenge up and running again at Hartlepool United tomorrow.
Zebroski has been sidelined by a dislocated kneecap and ligament damage since November but remains top of the Exiles scoring charts with seven goals.
Manager Justin Edinburgh is delighted to have the 27-year-old striker back in his squad for the long trip to Victoria Park.
Aside from goalkeepers Lenny Pidgeley (ankle) and Jamie Stephens (thigh) and defender Ismail Yakubu (foot) the Exiles boss has a near fully fit squad to pick from.
Aaron O’Connor will also make the trip and, although he won’t play, he could take part in the warm-up tomorrow afternoon.
That all adds to the feel-good factor for Edinburgh after a difficult period, which has seen County lose six fixtures due to a waterlogged pitch at Rodney Parade.
But the Exiles boss is looking for his players to take out their frustrations on Hartlepool this weekend.
“It will be another tough away trip for us but the players have got a desire and a hunger to put on a performance,” said Edinburgh.
“I’ve had to lift them at times because they want to play but this group have got a real steely focus and we’re looking forward to the next few months now.
“Their attitude has been first class and the good news is that we’re starting to get players back now.
“We travel with 22 players, which is a first for us this season, and it’s pleasing for me as a manager,” he added.
“Obviously we’ve lost the two goalkeepers but we’ve been able to bring in Elliot Parish and Conor Thompson and we will have Chris Zebroski and Aaron O’Connor travelling with us, which is fantastic news.
“The only outfield player who isn’t travelling is Ismail Yakubu who picked up a knock on his foot but that will only keep him out this weekend.
“So there has been a lot of negatives of late but there is positive news on the injuries and we’re looking forward now.”
And Edinburgh is convinced that the difficulties of the past few weeks could actually work to County’s benefit between now and the end of the League Two campaign on May 3.
“We have to turn every negative into a positive,” he said. “It happened last year and look what happened then. We overcame the setbacks and won promotion.
“The big thing for us is that we haven’t moved in the table. We’re still eighth with games in hand so it shows how well we’ve done in the first half of the season.
“The test for us now is can we go and produce that again and if we do that we won’t be far off.”