NEWPORT County AFC manager Justin Edinburgh has revealed that striker Rene Howe will take over penalty duties after another missed spot-kick cost his side a win at Southend United on Friday night.

Andy Sandell saw his effort saved against Northampton Town to cost County a draw at Rodney Parade on January 4 and that led to Robbie Willmott taking over the responsibility.

But the left wing-back blazed his penalty high and wide at Roots Hall as the Exiles had to settle for a 0-0 draw against play-off rivals Southend.

Edinburgh refused to blame Willmott but says striker Howe will now take over after he had the ball taken from him by Sandell and handed to Willmott on Friday.

“Robbie puts them in every day in training but we won’t blame him,” said the Exiles boss. “He stepped up but he missed the target.

“I don’t mind players wanting to take one. We don’t want to go through the whole team but Rene will go on them now. It’s his turn next.”

Edinburgh was satisfied with a point that saw his side remain in eighth place, seven points off the play-offs with a game in hand before this afternoon’s games.

“I’m very pleased with a point,” he said. “We’ve had some tough encounters on the road and that was certainly one of them because they’re unbeaten in six home games.

“We needed to get a foundation to work from for the month we’ve got ahead with four out of the next five games are at home and I felt we did that.

“We had to weather the storm from Southend first half and we had to call on Lenny to make a few saves but second half we changed the shape slightly and had the better chances.”

County are next in action, weather permitting, against another promotion-chasing team in Fleetwood Town at Rodney Parade on Friday.

“It’s a good clean sheet and a good point, just like we did at Accrington, and we will try to make ground on the ones above now,” added Edinburgh.

“I think we’ve played 16 away and only ten at home so I don’t know too many teams who’ve done that.

“But we had a full bench for the first time in a long time (at Southend) including Byron Anthony, which is a huge boost, and no fresh injuries.

“Ismail Yakubu will be back in training on Monday so all of a sudden things are looking a lot more healthy on that front.”

And the manager was full of praise for Ryan Burge, who won the penalty with a powerful surge from midfield, Adam Chapman, Howe and new striker Shaun Jeffers.

“Burge is going to get stronger and Chapman hasn’t played for a month so that is exciting,” he said.

“And Jeffers had to feed off a lot of scraps but he showed glimpses of what he’s about and I think he and Rene can form a good partnership.”