NEWPORT County AFC fans could be in for an Easter treat at AFC Wimbledon on Good Friday with the potential return of striker Aaron O’Connor.
The 30-year-old has not kicked a ball in a competitive match since his right foot rocket into the top corner sealed the Exiles’ 2-0 win over Wrexham in the Conference play-off final at Wembley last May.
O’Connor, the club’s top scorer last season, has so far missed all of County’s first campaign back in the Football League with a groin injury.
He underwent a hernia operation in February and told the Argus last month that any action for him this season would be a bonus.
But since then his progress in training has surprised everyone and Exiles boss Justin Edinburgh says O’Connor could be ready to make his long-awaited return from the bench against AFC Wimbledon.
“Jamie Stephens, Ismail Yakubu and Byron Anthony are all out for the season and Danny Crow is still out with a back problem but other than that we have a full squad to pick from,” said Edinburgh.
“Aaron O’Connor has trained all week and if there’s no reaction then he’ll be in the squad for Friday’s game, which is fantastic news for him and for everyone connected with the football club.
“It’s been a tough time and a real test for him both physically and mentally and it would be a great boost and a great lift for everyone to see him get some football between now and the end of the season.”
Edinburgh also welcomes back Adam Chapman from suspension but says the midfielder will have to earn a recall after his red card against Portsmouth.
“I think he’ll have to bide his time,” he said. “The three boys in the middle have done very well.
“He’ll come into the squad but I think he’ll have to be patient.”
Edinburgh was delighted with the 2-0 win over Wycombe Wanderers last Saturday that he believes has secured his side’s League Two status.
“Looking at the other results it was vitally important that we picked up the three points and got back to winning ways at home because it had been a long time,” he said.
“We’re delighted with the victory and look forward to Friday now. We’re obviously not mathematically safe but I think we’ve hit the target that should keep us in the Football League next season.
“But we want to get maximum points from out last four games and try to get some consistency going now.
“It’s been a tough time in the second half of the season but I’ll always back the boys,” he added.
“I think they’ve always given everything they’ve got. Sometimes they’ve come up short but in terms of effort I can’t fault them and it’ll remain the same until the end of the season.”