County sweating on Yakubu fitness as Edinburgh vows to tinker

NEWPORT County are sweating on the fitness of defender Ismail Yakubu ahead of today’s visit to Mansfield Town, writes Michael Pearlman.

The Exiles tackle their old foes from last season with only one fresh injury, though it’s a key one with Yakubu so impressive this season.

He has a ‘slight’ thigh problem and will be assessed early today before Newport hit the road for the 170 mile trip to last season’s Conference champions.

“The only fresh injury we have is Ismail Yakubu who has a slight thigh problem and he’s touch and go for Mansfield, we will assess that in the morning and make a decision on whether he travels,” Edinburgh explained.

However, even if Yakubu doesn’t make it, County can at least console themselves with the return of skipper Byron Anthony who was rested for Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with Fleetwood Town.

“We’ve got to be careful with certain individuals, managing them different and after playing three successive 90 minutes, I worried that to play Byron Anthony again on Tuesday night would have been a step too far,” Edinburgh explained.

“Byron has done too much already, he’s been remarkable and he’s had a really good rest now he will come back into the side today.”

However, County are likely to make a couple of changes and the likes of Shaun Jeffers, Christian Jolley, Mike Flynn and Adam Chapman will all be hoping for a recall.

“Now we probably look at Max Porter and Chris Zebroski and probably both of them need a rest, to keep playing them for 90 minutes won’t help them or the group, we need to bear that in mind,” Edinburgh said.

“But rotation is key for us now even though I’m not a great believer in changing unnecessarily when players are doing well.

“I wouldn’t have wanted to be rested when in form, but it’s a test for myself to get the selection right and manage the players right. But over the last couple of years I’ve done that very well.”

Edinburgh expects a tough test at Mansfield, but insists he’s not surprised that they’ve struggled this term, currently 20th in League Two.

“Mansfield will give us a really tough game, all 12 games remaining will be tough for different reasons,” he said.

“We know about them, they work extremely hard and we’ll have to be creative to open them up.

“We will go there and try and win the game and match our two performances in the past week which I think have been excellent.

“It’s hard for the sides that get promoted. We aren’t as aware of the opposition as we have been the year before, so it doesn’t surprise me Mansfield have found it tough, it’s an extremely tough division.

“As a manager you can’t be in two places at once, you only really watch the opponents you play against and I suppose in that sense we know more about Mansfield than any other team in the division.

“We won at their place last year and it was a great win for us. 4-3 or 1-0, I don’t mind, we just want that win.”

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