COUNTY v KIDDERMINSTER (Today, KO 3.15)
NEWPORT County AFC manager Justin Edinburgh is confident that new signings Will Evans and Scott Donnelly can help his side get their promotion campaign back on track against Kidderminster Harriers this afternoon.
Edinburgh believes the midfield pair, who both arrived on transfer deadline day, can fill the hole left by the departure of Lee Evans and the injury to Max Porter.
Both Will Evans, signed on loan from Hereford United, and Donnelly, who moved to Rodney Parade from Farnborough, should be available to face the in-form Harriers.
And Edinburgh is pleased to have brought in reinforcements after losing Lee Evans to Championship club Wolves and Porter to a groin injury.
“We’ll miss Lee because he’s a great player but we just couldn’t stand in the boy’s way once the deal was right,” said Edinburgh.
“Max did his groin at Lincoln, did his rehab, came back and joined in training on Tuesday and unfortunately it went again,” he explained.
“We’ve had it scanned now and it looks like he’s going to be out for three or four weeks.
“That is a massive blow for us because he’s been probably our most consistent player this season, but with the players we’ve brought to the club I think we can deal with it.”
The Exiles have been left to stew on the shock 2-0 home defeat to lowly Barrow on January 19 as snow, rain and the FA Trophy saw matches against Woking, South-port and Braintree Town postponed.
Edinburgh is expecting another tough test against fifth-placed Kiddy, who would move above County with a win.
“It’s two weeks since we last played and that’s a long time without a game,” he said.
“And coming off the result we had against Barrow makes it tougher.
“Kidderminster will come here full of confidence and it will be a tough game. The game at their place didn’t go as we would have wanted but on our day we’ll beat anyone.”
Edinburgh believes today’s visitors, who could field ex-County striker Nat Jarvis, are genuine promotion contenders.
“I think there are five or six teams who think they can win it, including the likes of Kidderminster and Mansfield,” he added.
“I don’t see this league being won until the last few games of the season and it’s going to be tough with the number of games piling up but it’s where you want to be.
“I’d rather be at this end of the table than where we were last season.”
As well as Lee Evans and Porter, County will still be without top scorer Aaron O’Connor (thigh) but centre-back Ismail Yakubu is fit to play.
One man pushing hard for a starting place is Newport-born defender Byron Anthony, who is now staying at the club on non-contract terms following his loan from Gloucester City.
“It’s nice to be back in Newport, especially when the club is going places,” he said. “It’s nice to be a part of that and hopefully we can get promoted.
“It’s been tough not getting the starts but the manager has stuck with the boys who have got us in this position and it’s up to me to work hard and try to force my way in.
“We’re going to be playing Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday for the next few months now so hopefully I will get my chance,” he added.
“We’ve got a good squad here and I just want to play. We’re pushing hard to get back into the League and hopefully I can play my part.”
- County’s match at Cambridge United has been moved to Friday, April 5, and will be shown live on Premier Sports TV (kick-off 7.45pm).
The final match of the season at Grimsby Town on Saturday, April 20, is now a 5.15pm kick-off.