NORTHAMPTON v COUNTY (Today, KO 3pm)
JUSTIN Edinburgh insists he’ll put his faith in academy graduate Andrew Hughes for today’s testing trip to face the Cobblers.
The Exiles are without Byron Anthony after his broken leg horror on Tuesday and are also missing Tony James who has a hamstring strain.
That leaves only Harry Worley and Ismail Yakubu available from Newport’s list of specialist central defenders, with Hughes more often deployed at left back.
However, following a fine pre-season and impressive display on Tuesday after Anthony’s injury, Hughes will be given the nod to try to establish himself in the team.
The Argus revealed yesterday Edinburgh is tracking another central defender, a target at a Champion-ship club who is available on loan, but no deal is expected until next week.
However, Edinburgh insists Hughes is worthy of inclusion irrespective of any additions.
“Hughesy has more than earned his chance and he will start at Northampton, I felt awful leaving him out last weekend if the truth is told,” he said.
“Along with Robbie Will-mott, Andrew was probably our best performer in pre-season and I am hoping he can carry that into today.”
The Exiles have no new injury worries from Tuesday, other than the obvious, and Edinburgh is also hopeful he’ll soon be able to select injured striker Aaron O’Connor.
Last season’s top scorer and often County’s talisman, O’Connor has been struggling for months with a groin problem.
“Azza will re-visit the specialist this week to get a progress report, an update on how it’s healing,” he said.
“If we get some good news hopefully we will be able to start making plans for getting him back in the fold.
“But as I’ve said before, we have no plans to rush him.”
The Exiles are now chasing two loan additions with one of the smallest squads in League Two, Newport unable to fill their subs bench for the first two fixtures. Their top priority remains a central defender, but they are also looking to add a further midfielder.
It is understood both Cardiff and Swansea have been contacted.