LIKE Louis van Gaal and Harry Redknapp, Newport County AFC manager Justin Edinburgh believes that three centre-backs is the way forward for his club this season.

The Exiles boss started with a 4-3-3 formation in the opening day defeat to Wycombe Wanderers but switched to 5-3-2 in the second half.

Darren Jones, Kevin Feely and Ismail Yakubu all played in central defence in the Capital One Cup tie at Reading on Tuesday night.

Despite the 3-1 defeat, Edinburgh was pleased with his side’s improved display against the Championship club and he now looks set to stick with 5-3-2 for Saturday’s trip to Morecambe.

“I’m extraordinarily pleased,” he said after the match at the Madejski Satdium. “I thought we needed a reaction after a below par performance on Saturday and I certainly got that from my players.

“We gave a very good account of ourselves and ran Reading hard.

“We changed the system and I thought it served us well and we were very much in the game.

“I think sometimes you have to play a formation that suits the players.

“For long periods of the season where we won promotion and last year it served us well but we didn’t have the personnel to continue with it at the end of last season.”

Edinburgh was without injured captain Andy Sandell but he was pleased with the way wing-backs Robbie Willmott and Ryan Jackson got forward.

“Robbie and Ryan got down the flanks and they were a menace and a threat to Reading all night with good end product,” he said. “It gave us more of a cutting edge.

“Andy Sandell and Chris Zebroski are both carrying knocks and the Morecambe game is more important to us,” he added.

“We didn’t want to risk longer-term absences but I expect both to be available on Saturday.

“Certainly Zebroski should be. Sandell took a blow to the shoulder late on Saturday but we’re hopeful that he’ll be OK.”

Edinburgh is keen to build on the positive performance against Reading, which included a first County goal for striker Shaun Jeffers.

“This was a free game for us; nothing was expected of us,” he said. “But we didn’t want to take a beating and to match a Championship side for long periods of the game is very pleasing.

“We’ve got to take this into the Morecambe game now and make sure that when the bread and butter stuff comes along we perform.

“I’m pleased for Shaun,” he added. “He’s deserved that goal.

“I said to him that the goals will come and it can be a springboard for him to go on and claim a first team place.”