Elliot Parish aiming to keep County in play-off hunt

GOALKEEPER Elliot Parish is aiming to keep Newport County AFC in the League Two play-off hunt by racking up the clean sheets, starting at Hartlepool United today.

The 23-year-old signed for County on an emergency 28-loan from Bristol City on Monday to deputise for injured stoppers Lenny Pidgeley and Jamie Stephens.

The postponement of Tuesday’s home clash with AFC Wimbledon meant Parish wasn’t thrown straight into action and, having trained with his new teammates all week, he’s ready to frustrate Hartlepool this afternoon.

“He’s had a couple of extra days with the group now, which has obviously helped, and he’s settled in very well,” said Exiles boss Justin Edinburgh.

“He’s a quality goalkeeper and we’re delighted that Steve Cotterill was able to help us out and we’ve been able to get a very capable replacement for the two we’ve lost.

“Jamie Stephens has been very unlucky,” he added. “I’m really disappointed for him and it’s indicative of the way this season has gone in terms of bad luck but it gives Elliot an opportunity to play some games and we’re delighted to have him on board.”

Parish is looking forward to getting some action after falling out of favour with the Robins in League One.

“I jumped at the chance to get some games,” he said.

“Of course my main club is Bristol City and I want to play for them but now I’ve got the opportunity to play here I want to do well and help us get back towards the play-offs.

“After the month is up we’ll see what happens but I want to do as well as I can do.

“I’ve got to prove myself all over again and I’m looking forward to facing Hartlepool and coming up against an old friend from Bristol in Marlon Harewood.”

The 34-year-old former West Ham and Aston Villa striker has yet to find the net for Pools since joining after his release by Bristol City midway through last month.

But manager Colin Cooper, who played with Harewood for Nottingham Forest in the late 1990s, is convinced the veteran will come good on and off the pitch.

“Marlon will add so much more than what he will give us on the pitch,” said Cooper.

“While I still think he will give us an awful lot on the pitch, you can tell that he has not played football in a little while but we will work him.”

County welcome back top scorer Chris Zebroski to the squad for today’s match but Edinburgh will be without defender Ismail Yakubu as well as Pidgeley and Stephens.

Zebroski is unlikely to start at Victoria Park but his return from long-term injury, along with Byron Anthony and Max Porter, is a big boost to the Exiles’ promotion push.

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