MICHAEL PEARLMAN SAYS: Edinburgh has a big issue with his strikers
10:12am Tuesday 15th April 2014 in Sport
IT was an absolute credit to the Newport County supporters that Christian Jolley received nothing but goodwill before ending his goal hell on Saturday.
Jolley, admittedly often from the bench, had gone 32 games without finding the net before his vital, vital goal against Wycombe, but the Rodney Parade faithful never turned on one of the heroes of last season.
Every positive contribution was acknowledged and it is my hope and belief that Jolley will now revert to his previous form and next season can be a key performer for County.
We hope so, because frankly, Justin Edinburgh currently has a problem in relation to his strikers for next season.
In no department have Newport fallen shorter this term than in goalscoring. When bit-part defender Harry Worley is one of your most prolific marksman, you've got an issue.
And yet, almost all of County's goal-shy forwards are contracted for next term,
You exclude Chris Zebroski from the conversation, because he's proven to be a very shrewd acquisition. He's a force for any League Two defence to contend with, pace, power and an intelligent runner and he's clearly done a lot of growing up off the field. Rodney Parade has been a good fit for him.
Everyone else, is a question mark.
Jolley, who has had a nightmare campaign, is contracted for next season. So too is County's other prolific forward from the Conference promotion squad, Aaron O'Connor. But he's missed a whole year of football.
Shaun Jeffers is a work in progress and is also contracted, as is Danny Crow and Rene Howe.
The latter two have big points to prove.
People have talked of Howe needing a pre-season and not being fully fit, but he began the campaign with Burton. He has largely flattered to deceive so far.
And is there any way back for Crow?
I'm a huge admirer of Danny, I haven't so easily forgotten the player whose mere presence last season meant County didn't lose and normally won and whose two goals, one sublime, ensured a famous win at Brighton this season, a team who may yet end the campaign in the Premier League.
However, that player hasn't been seen for months and whereas the Amber Army have stuck firmly behind Jolley, Crow has become something of a boo boy.
Shorn of Conor Washington, Edinburgh should be concerned to have five strikers contracted for next season who for a variety of reasons, haven't fired this season.
Young Joe Parker from Gloucester will provide another option, but it must be likely that Edinburgh might have to negotiate with other clubs and perhaps let one or more of his contracted strikers leave in the summer.
We will have plenty of time to assess the squad across the board, and Edinburgh's choices on who he does and doesn't retain, in the coming weeks.
But I'll be keeping a particular eye on the situation with the strikers, because by scoring his tenth of the season on Saturday, Zebroski become one of only 17 players to reach double figures in 42 League Two games. Only Scunthorpe's Sam Winnall has over 20.
A reliable goalscorer is gold in English football's fourth tier and it's going to be interesting to see how Edinburgh navigates the issue of having his forward line seemingly already settled for next season.
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