County boss Justin Edinburgh wants a selection headache

Newport County pre season training at the Newport International Sports Village pitches.  Pictured watching training is manager Justin Edinburgh. (7691493)

Newport County pre season training at the Newport International Sports Village pitches. Pictured watching training is manager Justin Edinburgh. (7691493)

First published in Sport

NEWPORT County boss Justin Edinburgh has challenged his charges to give him a selection headache by responding to the impressive efforts of their teammates.

The Exiles go in search of their fourth pre-season victory when they take on Gloucester City in Cinderford this afternoon (kick-off 3pm).

Edinburgh is poised shuffle his pack at the Causeway, giving starts to the members of his squad that came off the bench on the hour at Weston-super-Mare on Tuesday.

With the big League Two kick-off against Wycombe just three weeks away the manager, who has been using a 4-3-3 formation, wants to have tough calls to make.

The manager declared himself delighted with his side's efforts in Weston – "It was the best that we have played so far this pre-season and we are going through the gears" – and wants the improvement to continue.

The battle is shaping up to be particularly fierce up front with Rene Howe, Aaron O'Connor, Shaun Jeffers, Joe Parker, Chris Zebroski, Christian Jolley and Danny Crow all vying for starts.

"Confidence is key in football but especially for strikers," he said. "Getting in the habit of putting the ball in the back of the net won't do any harm.

"Hopefully I'll have some selection problems going into the first game of the season because we have a good array of talent and a lot of strikers.

"The competition is going to be fierce and players have to take the opportunity when it comes along."

Midfielder Lee Minshull made 46 appearances last season, with 38 of them starts.

But the 28-year-old knows he is under pressure to earn a spot against the Wanderers at Rodney Parade on opening day, especially with new recruits Yan Klukowski and Mark Byrne in the mix.

"There is a lot of competition for places," said the 28-year-old. "We've got a big squad with lads that did well last year, lads that have been brought in and lads that are coming back from injuries.

"We're finding our feet, working hard on fitness, stepping up the minutes and we played some good stuff on a nice pitch at Weston.

"The aim for all of us is to give the manager a lot of decisions to make when the season gets started."

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