Aaron O'Connor aims for starting place against Rochdale
NEWPORT County AFC striker Aaron O’Connor is hoping to start against Rochdale on Saturday as he looks to rekindle his partnership with Christian Jolley.
O’Connor’s last competitive start for the Exiles was in a 2-2 draw at his former club Luton Town on April 16 last year.
And he and Jolley haven’t started together in a competitive game since a 1-0 home win over Braintree Town seven days before that.
But the pair, who both scored in the play-off final victory over Wrexham at Wembley last May, could finally be reunited in Justin Edinburgh’s starting XI for this Saturday’s season finale.
“I’ve had no reaction. I feel fine and I wouldn’t be surprised if I start,” said O’Connor, who has been restricted to cameos from the bench since his return from a groin injury at AFC Wimbledon on Good Friday.
“I can’t remember the last time we played 90 minutes together. Even last season when Jolls came I was injured.
“We both played a little bit at Wembley and did the job there but it’s been a while.”
O’Connor believes that if he and Jolley had been fit throughout the campaign then the Exiles may now be preparing for the League Two play-offs and that is the aim for next season.
“Hopefully we cement our place in the side, get a good pre-season behind us and get a partnership going for next year,” said the 30-year-old.
“Over the course of the whole season everyone plays their part and it’s about keeping everyone fit but I’d like to think we could have made a difference if we’d been fit all season.
“We’ve shown as a team that we can compete in this league and I think if we have a bit more luck I don’t see why we can’t challenge next year.”
Jolley, who also missed several months of the season with a groin injury, is looking ahead to next season with optimism as well.
“We’ve had a good run of late and if we’d put that together four or five games earlier it could have been different,” said Jolley.
“Before the York game I think we were only 12 points off the play-offs and that is only four wins so you look at certain results and think what could have been.
“We were 2-0 up against Wimbledon and drew and we should have beaten Burton as well and those kind of results are the difference between finishing where we will and challenging for promotion.
“We live and learn and hopefully we can progress next year and have some more of those glory days.”
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