Exiles look to seize initiative
STOCKPORT v COUNTY (Today, KO 3pm)
NEWPORT County will hope to – for once – take advantage of other clubs’ weather woes as they look to get their promotion bid back on track at Stockport County.
The hosts have told the Exiles they are “100% confident” of today’s Blue Square Bet Conference clash going ahead despite appalling conditions up and down the country.
As a precaution the Edgeley Park playing surface has been under protective cover for 24 hours and with their match set to go ahead, whereas plenty of others will not, manager Justin Edinburgh is desperate for his charges to seize the initiative.
County play three back-to-back away games this week and with Stockport in relegation trouble and already on their third manager of the season, the Exiles will be targeting a maximum return from Cheshire.
Edinburgh is confident County can triumph if they match Tuesday’s performance against Kidderminster when they were desperately unlucky to fall to an injury time defeat.
“All I want my players to do is play and be as committed as they were on Tuesday night,” he said, “and I am sure they will be on the end of the right result, it was just one of those nights where you look up to the skies and shake your head in disbelieve.
“I cannot blame any of my players for the performance on Tuesday, they were super.
“Yes, a bit more of a killer instinct in front of goal and it could have been different but their keeper was outstanding to be fair.
“It’s gone now and we’ve got to get on with it and the best way to do that is hit back with a win and get back on track.
“Whenever we have taken a hit we seem to bounce back and that is what we need to do, the players know that.
“Stockport are not going to lie down and give us the points, we are going to work just as hard as we did on Tuesday and I am sure we will be okay.
“There are just 11 games to go and we have been in the top four or five for most of the season and that must stand for something.”
Edinburgh is, however, wary of the hosts because after losing to bogey team Kidderminster in midweek, they now face a Bogie side, with Stockport welcoming new manager Ian Bogie.
“They are fighting for their lives, which is more than enough incentive, but often a new manager can really lift a team and that’s something we need to be wary of.”
The Exiles have a slew of injuries with Mike Flynn now joining Ben Swallow and Max Porter on the sidelines, though boss Edinburgh is likely to rotate his squad ahead of their well documented fixture pile-up.
Will Evans could make a first appearance and striker Rhys Griffiths could also get a start after dropping to the bench to make way for returning striker Aaron O’Connor.