NEWPORT County AFC manager Justin Edinburgh has praised his players for their mental strength after completing a run of five home games in a fortnight, writes Andrew Penman.

The Exiles boss has been critical of the Rodney Parade pitch, which he believes cost his side two points in Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with Fleetwood Town.

County took just five points from their five home games but Edinburgh insists that the draws with Fleetwood and Scunthorpe on Saturday show how his side can compete with the best that League Two has to offer.

“I thought we were worthy of the win but another one of the top six sides have come here and haven't taken a win away from Rodney Parade,” he said after Tuesday’s stalemate.

“I have to praise my players. It’s been a tough five games here but we showed a real good mental attitude and a great work ethic and these last two games we’ve showed what a good side we are.”

Edinburgh was impressed with the impact Mike Flynn made from the bench on Tuesday but again defended his decision not to retain the veteran midfielder or former captain David Pipe for next season.

“It’s nothing personal with Michael or David,” he said. “It’s a decision I’ve made as a manager and I’m sorry I’ve had to make that decision.

“They are never personal. They’ve been fantastic servants and they’re fantastic people. I’ve got a very good relationship with them but I’m paid to make decisions for this football club to progress.

“Michael came on and did very well because he’s a professional footballer employed by this club and he’s shown a great attitude.

“So has David. He’s been a captain for me for two and a half years but I’m the manager who has to make the correct decisions for this football club.”

Defender Ismail Yakubu was forced off against Fleetwood with a thigh injury and is a doubt for Saturday’s trip to Mansfield Town.

Midfielder Max Porter may also be rested for the clash with the Stags but Byron Anthony should return after being rested in midweek.

Saturday’s match may also be the last County appearance for goalkeeper Elliott Parish as his loan deal from Bristol City expires at the weekend and Lenny Pidgeley and Jamie Stephens are nearing full fitness.