NEWPORT County AFC manager Justin Edinburgh says new signings Darcy Blake and Kevin Feely could both feature against Torquay United this afternoon, writes Andrew Penman.
Edinburgh will be without captain David Pipe through suspension, while Byron Anthony, Ismail Yakubu and Andy Sandell are all ruled out through injury and Ryan Jackson is also a doubt with a dead leg.
And the Exiles boss acted quickly to ease his defensive concerns following Wednesday’s 2-1 home defeat to Dagenham & Redbridge, bringing in Wales international Blake and Irish under-21 defender Feely.
Both centre-backs join Harry Worley, Andrew Hughes and Tom Naylor in the squad for the trip to the South Coast.
“We’ve been lucky in finding someone of the quality of Darcy Blake at this stage of the season and we’re delighted,” said Edinburgh.
“I remember watching him marking Wayne Rooney out of the game against England not so long ago so it’s a massive coup for us.
“To be able to bring someone of his calibre is a surprise and it has given everyone a lift.
“He’s an international and still only 25 so his experience is exactly what we need.
“And Kevin Feely will be a good acquisition as well,” he added. “It’s an area where we’ve picked up a lot of injuries of late and we needed to bring in some back-up and some fresh faces for the last ten games.”
Edinburgh is unconcerned by criticism of Blake’s fitness from former Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay and current Wales boss Chris Coleman and insists his new signing is ready to play.
“Things happen in football and people’s opinions differ,” said Edinburgh. “People fall out with people and managers have different opinions.
“Somewhere along the line something’s happened but you don’t become a bad player overnight.
“He played two games on trial for Birmingham so he’s ready and I think adrenaline and experience will get him through the first couple of games.
“He’ll be involved against Torquay, as will Kevin.”
Edinburgh was in no mood to play down the importance of today’s clash with bottom club Torquay.
“We’ve got ten cup finals between now and the end of the season and the majority of them are against teams in and around us in the table,” he said.
“It’s a big game and they’ll be on a high after their late winner against Bury and we need to get something out of the game.
“We’ve lost the knack of winning and any kind of win is a necessity now.”
Wednesday’s defeat saw Chris Zebroski become the fourth County player this season to miss a penalty, following Andy Sandell, Adam Chapman and Robbie Willmott.
Edinburgh, whose side have won just once in 15 games, says the poor record from the spot has been very costly.
“It’s become very frustrating,” he said. “Zeb has scored one and missed one and Sands and Chappers the same and it’s cost us five points.
“If we had five more points we’d be looking at the play-offs so it’s a big issue and I just hope that we put the next one away.”