MANAGER Justin Edinburgh has warned his players to avoid complacency as Newport County AFC start their FA Cup campaign at Yate Town today.
County sit proudly at the top of the Blue Square Bet Premier and are big favourites to beat their opponents, who are bottom of the Evostik League Division One South and West.
But Edinburgh knows that his side can’t take victory for granted if they are to book their place in the first round proper and earn the chance of a tie against a top League One or League Two side.
"We’re there to be shot at," said the Exiles boss. "There will always be upsets. We’ve got to make sure we prepare well, make sure our attitude is right and make sure we’re not the victims of an upset.
"I’ll pick the strongest side that is available and that I think can go out and win the game.
"I don’t think we’re in a position to go there and take Yate lightly.
"If I leave three or four players out the mindset of the players might be affected and we might come unstuck.
"We might come unstuck with our best team but we’ll do things right.
"We need to keep winning for the club to progress so we’ll certainly be taking this game seriously."
Edinburgh has done his homework having watched Yate win 2-0 at Merthyr Town in the Southern League Cup on Tuesday night and he was impressed with what he saw.
"You could see why they have progressed in the cup," he said. "I know they’ve only won one league game but they went to a team that is doing well in the league and beat them deservedly."
Edinburgh is not prepared to make major changes for today’s tie but his hand may be forced with Danny Crow (hamstring) definitely ruled out and major doubts over defenders Ismail Yakubu (calf), David Pipe (groin), Andrew Hughes (ankle).
Striker Jefferson Louis is also struggling with illness.
"There may be one or two changes," he confirmed.
"We’ve got one or two boys carrying knocks and if they come to me and say ‘I’m not right’ then I’ve got no problem bringing players in.
"But I know as a player myself that when you’re playing well you want to play in every game you can.
"When I was playing I didn’t want the manager to rest me in any game, let alone a competitive cup game."
Edinburgh believed Hughes will be fit to start today but with Louis and Crow out there may be an opportunity for strikers Conor Washington and Jake Harris.
"Andrew’s ankle has been sore for a couple of weeks," said the Exiles boss. "He played in for the Wales C side in midweek and got another knock but he’ll be OK.
"Danny Crow is still out and Jeff is ill but we had a game against Bristol Rovers at Spytty on Tuesday and that allowed us to give Joe Perry, Ryan Charles, Jake Harris and Conor Washington 90 minutes so they are ready to play if needed.
"Lee Evans also played 90 minutes for Wales C and that is a big bonus for us as well."