HE still hasn’t given up all hope of making the League Two play-offs but Newport County AFC manager Justin Edinburgh says a top-ten finish would be a positive outcome for his side, writes Andrew Penman.
After a run of just one win in 15 games since Boxing Day, the Exiles are finally on an upward curve with victory at Torquay United last week and a draw with Bury on Tuesday.
And with crisis club Portsmouth the visitors to Rodney Parade tomorrow, Edinburgh says the opportunity is there to build a bit of momentum once again.
“We’ve really learned a lot about ourselves over the past few months,” said the Exiles boss.
“We’ve got two good results now, which is a start, and now we want to finish the season as well as we can.
“A top-ten finish for a team in their first season back in the Football League after 25 years would be a tremendous achievement.
“Of course mathematically the play-offs are still possible but we have to concentrate on putting a run together.
“We’ve got two good results and if we can make that three, four and five then who knows?”
But Edinburgh is also wary of the affect of Richie Barker’s dismissal could have on the Pompey players tomorrow.
“For whatever reason you always tend to get a reaction from a group of players when a manager is dismissed, which is very disappointing and sad really,” he said.
“I expect a tough encounter. They’ll bring a big following and it should be a great atmosphere.”
Edinburgh is likely to field a largely unchanged team with now new injuries.
Defenders Ismail Yakubu and Ryan Jackson are available again but the back four of Tom Naylor, Andrew Hughes and new boys Darcy Blake and Kevin Feely will be retained after successive clean sheets.
“That back four has been excellent,” said Edinburgh. “Two games and two clean sheets is testament to that and it won’t change for the foreseeable future.”
Goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley is also back in training but won’t be involved against Pompey, while Jamie Stephens has had an operation on his thigh injury and won’t play again this season.