We have the squad to deal with hectic run-in, says County boss
HYDE v COUNTY (tomorrow, KO 3pm)
NEWPORT County AFC start a run of 15 games in 50 days at Hyde tomorrow afternoon as the race for promotion to the Football League really hots up.
County may be forced to play four times in eight days at some point between now and April 20 as a result of Tuesday’s match at Gateshead being postponed because of snow.
But, despite the gruelling fixture list, manager Justin Edinburgh is certain he has the squad to cope and the match-winners to secure promotion.
“We still don’t know when or where we’re going to play Gateshead and that is an unfair disadvantage for us,” said the Exiles boss.
“Everyone else will be playing at York City or Hartlepool and we were the only ones going to play at their own ground.
“We’re not happy about it and if we have to play four games in a week it will put a great strain on the squad physically and mentally.
“It will test us but I think we’ve got a good enough squad to deal with it and if we’re going to achieve our aim of winning promotion we’re going to have to overcome it.
“I think most players at this level have experienced this amount of games in a short space of time at the end of the season,” he added.
“It happens every year and I don’t think we get enough games in early in the season when the pitches are better and I think it’s something that needs to be looked at but most players would rather play more games and do less training anyway.”
Relegation-threatened Hyde were beaten 5-1 at fellow strugglers Alfreton Town on Tuesday but were shock 3-1 winners at Rodney Parade in November.
“We’re in good form and we’ve done well on the road so we’ve got nothing to fear,” said Edinburgh.
“Hyde will be wounded after their big defeat in midweek but they beat us at home so we know how dangerous they can be.
“It’s not about revenge this weekend though, it’s about getting three points.”
County will be without injury victims Max Porter (groin), Aaron O’Connor (thigh), Ben Swallow (hamstring) and Jake Harris (thigh).
“I fully expect Aaron to be back training with the squad on Monday and he could be available for the match at Ebbsfleet,” said Edinburgh.
“Ben is progressing well and he’ll start training the following week but Max has had a slight setback so he will probably be another week or two away.
“Rhys Griffiths has trained all week and he had a few minutes last week so he’s up to speed now and ready to go.”
Striker Danny Crow got back on the scoresheet against AFC Telford United last weekend and Edinburgh was full of praise for the way he and Christian Jolley have filled the gap while top scorer O’Connor has been sidelined and Lee Minshull has deputised for Porter in midfield.
“We were delighted for Danny,” he said.
“His contribution to the team has been immense and he’s deserved more goals but his partnership with Chris-tian Jolley has been great for us.
“We’ve been missing some big players but full credit to the likes of Danny, Christian and Lee Minshull who have come in and done so well.
“That shows the strength of the squad now and I think that’s the reason we’ve been so consistent all season.”