We belong in the leading pack, says Exiles ace
MIDFIELDER Ryan Burge believes that the results against Oxford, Scunthorpe and Fleetwood show that Newport County AFC can compete at the top of League Two.
County have suffered shock home defeats to mid-table strugglers Cheltenham and AFC Wimbledon in recent weeks but victory over Oxford and draws with Scunthorpe and Fleetwood showed their true capabilities, according to Burge.
The Exiles, currently tenth, beat fifth-placed Oxford 3-2, drew 2-2 with second-placed Scunthorpe and 0-0 with sixth-placed Fleetwood in a run of five successive matches at Rodney Parade.
And as they embark on two away fixtures, at Mansfield Town on Saturday and Morecambe on Tuesday, Burge argues that the squad should take confidence from those results.
“You look at the table and we’ve played three sides who are right up there in Oxford, Scunthorpe and Fleetwood and we’ve come away with something,” said the 25-year-old playmaker. “That’s not bad over those three games.
“Against Fleetwood we had our chances but unfortunately they didn’t go in.
“On any other pitch in the league Rene (Howe) would have scored. It took an awful bobble,” he added, referring to Howe’s miss near the end of Tuesday’s stalemate.
“We created opportunities and I don’t think they created anything too clear cut so we probably could have taken all three points.”
Burge says the state of the pitch at Rodney Parade has led to an inevitable change in playing style for the Exiles and he’s hoping to be able to play his more natural passing game away from home.
“The pitch is completely unpredictable and it’s dictating the way we play at the moment,” he said.
“We don’t want to play like that but with the pitch the way it is it’s the way it’s got to be done at the moment.
“We’ve got to pick the ball higher up at the moment because it is like a sandpit but it’s nobody’s fault and we’ve just got to deal with it.
“I’m not sure what their pitches are like (at Mansfield and Morecambe) but we’ve got to go there and give it our all,” he added.
“You can’t fault the lads’ attitude and if we keep going like that then anything’s possible.”
And that includes a play-off challenge for County who are six points off the top seven with two games in hand.
“It’s still realistic,” argued Burge. “We’ve still got a lot of games to play and two games in hand still so if we can start picking up points from teams at the top and keep going into games with the right attitude then we’ll be up there.”
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