TAMWORTH v COUNTY (Today, KO 3pm)
JUSTIN Edinburgh celebrated a hugely successful first year in charge of Newport County AFC this week but his focus is firmly on winning three more points at Tamworth today.
The former Rushden & Diamonds boss was appointed as Anthony Hudson’s successor on October 4 last year and took charge of his first match – a 3-0 home defeat to Southport – four days later.
And after steering the Exiles to survival in the Blue Square Bet Premier, not to mention a first appearance at Wembley in the FA Trophy final, he says his side are well ahead of schedule this term.
Edinburgh’s men are second in the table after 12 matches, just a point behind leaders Forest Green Rovers, and aim to regain top spot at the Lamb Ground this afternoon as Rovers travel to third-placed Wrexham.
“It’s gone very quickly,” said the Exiles boss. “If I’m honest, when I came to the club I didn’t really know the full extent of the problems the team had. They were really lacking in confidence and we lost 3-0 in my first game, which wasn’t good. Then we went a goal down after about 28 seconds at Fleetwood and you think, ‘what am I doing here’ but it’s been enjoyable.
“To survive and go to Wembley and now start so well with my own team out on that pitch is pleasing to me.
“We are miles ahead of where we expected to be at this stage,” he added.
“We have our own targets within the group and to be in the top two right now is great.
“But we want to stay amongst it. We’ll have to be on our game at Tamworth, it’s another big test for us.
“Not many teams go from a relegation battle to challenge for promotion but that’s what we’re aiming to do.”
Edinburgh paid tribute to the County fans after they raised money to help him rebuild the squad in January.
“Everyone at the club, from top to bottom, has been fantastic,” said Edinburgh.
“The people in the city have welcomed me and the supporters have played a massive part. It was a big turning point when they raised the funds to improve the squad last season. That was a big factor in me signing a new contract because it made me realize what the club means to the people of this city.
“It made me feel that this was the right club for me and had a really good future.”