MICHAEL PEARLMAN SAYS: County can't moan about their pitch... ever
10:46am Tuesday 25th February 2014 in Sport
I BET Jimmy Dack regretted bringing up to the state of the Rodney Parade pitch a second after he did so on Saturday.
Even though he quickly checked himself, "we can't use it as an excuse," (and in fairness, Dack isn't one for excuses) it is imperative Newport immediately adopt a mindset of the Rodney Parade playing surface being a help rather than a hindrance.
I wasn't at the game on Saturday, but no report I've read has been too kind and there appears to be a general consensus among fans it was an extremely below par display. It's not a verdict I'm in any place to argue.
It was telling that the commentator on the Football League show took a pot shot at the "terrible," playing surface and that is the obvious perception across the Football League.
But why is it a disadvantage to Newport? In my eyes it is anything but.
If County have to change their tactics, play differently at home, so be it.
If route one is the way to win at Rodney Parade, County will be more than adept at playing that way. They have pace and they have height and power in their attack.
Every side is going to find the Rodney Parade surface a challenge, but County will know every strange bounce and everywhere it's especially soft underfoot in the coming games better than their opponents will.
And it is at Rodney Parade where County's bid for the play-offs will live or die.
This is a big week. It's a perfect time for County to again be playing on Tuesday and Saturday.
Justin Edinburgh can ring the changes for the AFC Wimbledon game with his squad as big as it has been all season and with three points, Newport will be on everyone's shoulders again with only a four point deficit on the top seven.
If you want to be really positive, it was still a good week for Newport despite Saturday's poor result. The superb victory over Oxford sent a statement and the loss to Cheltenham wasn't fully punished with Burton, Fleetwood and Chesterfield beaten and Oxford and Southend held to a point at the weekend.
The Exiles need to bounce back and back-to-back home clashes with Wimbledon and then the red-hot Scunthorpe, unbeaten in 16 since November, is a mouth-watering prospect.
I have a feeling we might learn a lot about the Exiles between now and my next column.
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