Pidgeley's playing for keeps
AFTER three months out of the side Newport County AFC goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley is determined to keep the clean sheets coming and do his bit to help seal promotion.
Ex-Chelsea stopper Pidgeley returns to another one of his old clubs as County travel to Woking in the Conference this afternoon looking to build on Tuesday’s 2-0 victory over Mansfield Town.
That was the first time the Exiles had prevented their opponents scoring since October and Pidgeley is now seemingly manager Justin Edinburgh’s number one again.
The 6ft 4ins Londoner, who celebrated his 29th birthday last week, admits that watching rival Alan Julian take his place was a frustrating experience and he’s delighted to be back between the posts.
“I think it was three months not playing and as a goalkeeper if you’re on the bench you’re not expecting to play so it’s tough,” he said. “If you’re a striker you know you could come on for 10 minutes and get your opportunity but as a goalkeeper you’re sitting there every week not playing.
“You’re not sure when you’re going to get back in so the only thing you can do is work hard and wait for your chance.
“And if you get the opportunity you’ve got to take it and it’s gone well so far – apart from cramping up against Tamworth!”
County were 2-0 up at home to the Lambs last Saturday when Pidgeley had to be stretchered off with severe cramp in his calf and went on to draw 2-2.
“That was disappointing because I think we were pretty comfortable and at 70 minutes I was starting to think about a clean sheet,” said Pidgeley.
“I was gutted to go off. I’ve been doing extra session in the gym with David Pipe and Max Porter and that might have had something to do with it.
“I was in a lot of pain at the time but thankfully I was OK for Tuesday and it’s fine now.
“We got the clean sheet and the win on Tuesday and to play two games and not concede is the ideal scenario for me.”
Pidgeley is firm friends with Julian but he’s not about to give up that number one jersey again without a fight.
“Jules has been there before. We’ve both been around a while and we know it’s nothing personal,” he added.
“We get on really well and we try to help and support each other but obviously it’s hard to take when you’re out of the team.
“I played 20 games in a team that was top of the league. It was a massive blow for me personally but I think I responded in the right way and the gaffer has obviously noticed that and given me another chance.”
Edinburgh’s men are looking for revenge at the Kingfield Stadium this afternoon after the Cards enjoyed a shock 3-2 win at Rodney Parade with Pidgeley in goal in October.
“That game summed us up a bit,” said the goalkeeper. “We’ve done well against the top teams but slipped up against the teams lower down and we need to put that right.
“If we win those games in hand we’ll be right up there even though everyone’s written us off a bit.
“That might have relieved a bit of pressure if we’re the underdogs again.
“I used to play at Woking so I’m looking forward to the game,” he added. “It’s not too far from my parents and family and friends so I’ll probably have a few extra supporters there and hopefully it’ll be another good day for me and the team.”
New signing Rhys Griffiths is in contention to start up front for County, who are missing Aaron O’Connor (thigh), Max Porter (groin), Andrew Hughes (groin), Jake Harris (thigh) and Ben Swallow (hamstring) through injury.
Woking will be without first-choice goalkeeper Aaron Howe after he injured his wrist ligaments in their fine 3-0 win at Alfreton Town last Saturday.