JUST after Newport County’s fairly dull 0-0 draw with Stockport County on September 8 I had a fairly revealing conversation with Exiles boss Justin Edinburgh.
Normally this kind of stuff wouldn’t be worthy of mention in the paper, but I think this particular chat illustrates perfectly the faith the current boss has in his squad.
JE: “I’ll see you next time mate.”
ME: “No, I’m off on holiday, I’m not back until October.”
JE: “Don’t worry, we will still be top of the league when you get back.”
And here I am, back at my desk at Argus towers and where are County? Top of the Conference.
This is no longer form that can be put down to good fortune or looked at as an anomaly from a side set to finish mid-table.
County are top of the Conference on merit because Edinburgh and Tim Harris have put together a very good nucleus of players.
County are top of the league because the move to Rodney Parade has provided a boost not just to the players but to the supporters, who are finally living up to the tag of being part of a club who shouldn’t be wallowing in non-league football.
The Exiles are top because they’ve been decisive and positive in the transfer market, Edinburgh unearthing far more good signings than bad and he has got his team playing with pace and penetration.
The Exiles aren’t the most likely side to win the Conference – you’d still expect moneybags Forest Green, and contenders last term Luton and Wrexham to push hard for the title – but there is no reason whatsoever to think that Newport can’t hang in and earn at least a playoff place.
You don’t get to be top of the league in October unless you’re a good team and Newport County are continuing to exceed all expectations.
As his son is fond of saying, “In Just we trust,” and at the moment, County fans should feel nothing but optimistic.