NEWPORT County AFC manager Justin Edinburgh says tomorrow’s League Two clash with AFC Wimbledon can be an inspiration to any side that falls on hard times, writes Andrew Penman.
Both County and Wimbledon had to start from scratch after the original clubs ceased to exist – Newport in 1989 after being wound up and the south Londoners in 2002 after the ‘franchise’ was relocated to Milton Keynes to become MK Dons.
Wimbledon returned to the Football League in 2011 via the Conference play-offs and the Exiles followed by the same route two years later.
Current County stars Ismail Yakubu, Ryan Jackson, Lee Minshull and Christian Jolley played a part in both promotions and Max Porter joined the Dons in the summer of 2011 before moving to South Wales the following year.
Now the clubs meet in mid-table in League Two at Kingsmeadow tomorrow safe in the knowledge that they should be enjoying another season among the elite 92 come August.
“Both teams ceased existence and came back,” said Edinburgh, who was manager of Rushden & Diamonds when they went bust in 2011.
“Wimbledon did it quicker than ourselves but I think it shows that anyone who falls on hard times, if they really believe it and they stick together and they have the fan-base, they can come back.
“I know they had an excellent win at Southend last week so there should be a good crowd and again we’ll be backed by great travelling support so I expect it to be a good game.”
Neal Ardley’s side won at Rodney Parade in February but Edinburgh is expecting a much better showing from his side this time round.
“The home game was one of the flattest performances of the season from us,” said the Exiles boss.
“We went ahead through a lucky goal but we were low on confidence and ended up losing 2-1.
“But they’ve not had the best of form of late so I think we can go there and try to get the win.
“They’re a team that are just below us so a win there would put a bit of distance between us and them.”