Anthony return can lift Exiles
NEWPORT County AFC manager Justin Edinburgh believes the return of Byron Anthony to Rodney Parade will give his players a big boost ahead of Saturday’s clash with Bristol Rovers, writes Andrew Penman.
The popular defender will watch his first match since breaking his leg in the Capital One Cup victory at Brighton & Hove Albion.
And Edinburgh says that his presence will give the Exiles a lift as they look to bounce back from last Saturday’s defeat at Northampton Town.
“It will be great to see Byron at the game,” said Edinburgh. “I’m really pleased that he’s progressing well and I know the players will be pleased to see him as well because he’s a big character in the group.
“It will be good for the players to see him back on his feet because what happened to him was distressing but he’s doing well.”
With Anthony out until after Christmas and fellow centre-back Tony James (hamstring) still a week away from returning, Edinburgh is short of numbers in defence.
The situation is compounded by a doubt over Ismail Yakubu, meaning new arrival Tom Naylor is likely to make his debut against the Pirates.
“Tom is in contention to start,” said Edinburgh. “There is a slight doubt over Ismail. He picked up a slight calf strain last week at Northampton."
The Exiles boss also hinted that first choice goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley could return to action sooner rather than later having played 90 minutes in a friendly against Cardiff City on Tuesday.
“Without a doubt it’s good to have your number one goalkeeper back in the fold,” he said.
“He’s been training for a couple of weeks now and he’s getting up to speed. Barring one minor error in the game I thought he played very well.
“I will pick what is the best team to win any game and Lenny is back in the squad now so we’ll see where that takes us over the weekend.”
Edinburgh is full of respect for the job that John Ward has done at Rovers this year but he is convinced that his side can bounce back with a win on Saturday if they reproduce their encouraging performance in defeat last week.
“This is an excellent game to be playing in, no matter what the result last week,” he said. “Looking back at that game I thought we played better at Northampton than we did against Accrington and nine times out of ten if you play like we did at Northampton you’ll win.
“We want to put that right this week,” he added. “It should be a great game and a fantastic atmosphere.
“Rovers have a few injuries but they will be strong. John has had a big influence since he’s gone there and they had a fantastic end to last season so it will be a good test.”