NEWPORT County’s players and staff are determined not to let Rochdale have a champions’ party at Rodney Parade.
Rochdale are gunning for the League Two title after Saturday’s comfortable 2-0 victory over Cheltenham moved them top after Russ Wilcox tasted defeat for the first time with Scunthorpe at Exeter.
Both sides are now promoted, with Chesterfield bidding to join them yesterday afternoon against Burton, but the race to be crowned champions is set to go into the final weekend of the season when Keith Hill’s side travel to Gwent.
And even though when the Argus spoke with manager Justin Edinburgh and players Max Porter and Robbie Willmott it was advantage Rochdale, all three were adamant that the Exiles must spoil the party next weekend.
“The final game is important, we have to be extremely competitive, the title is riding on that one and as a former player myself, I’d be looking forward to playing in that one,” Edinburgh explained.
“They are coming to us looking to win the league and it’ll be tough for us but I expect the application and commitment to be spot-on as it has been recently.
“We’ll be better for the experiences of this season, but I’m keen Saturday is a day where we get the result.
“We do not want Rochdale parading the league title on our turf; it’s as simple as that.”
Edinburgh’s attitude was echoed by his players.
“We need to win the final home game of the season for our supporters, they were hoping, as we were, that it’d be us in the play-offs or going up and it hasn’t turned out like that,” Willmott explained.
“But we want to end on a high, for everyone involved with the club, we can’t have a title party on our manor, I’ve been in that position before, being the gracious loser and it’s not nice, we aren’t interested in that.
“We don’t want to be congratulating them on winning the league, we owe them one from the away fixture (County lost 3-0) and we want to finish the season on a high by turning them over.”
Rochdale were arguably the side that most emphatically beat the Exiles this term and midfielder Porter admits the players in the dressing room have been really impressed with them.
“The boys have spoken highly of Rochdale, they rate them as maybe the best team we’ve played this season but it makes it good for us, we don’t want to be involved with a dead rubber.
“This way it is good, they’ll bring plenty of fans down, there will be a bumper crowd and it’ll be a really good test, I haven’t played against Rochdale so I’m looking forward to it.”