EVESHAM V COUNTY (Today, KO 3pm)
NEWPORT County boss Justin Edinburgh will be well advised to steer clear of ladders and black cats in the coming weeks to avoid further injury woe.
The Exiles boss was always keen to use today’s trip to Evesham United as a chance to assess his trialists and it is a good job with County more than a little under strength through injuries.
The start of a pre-season is a prevalent time for strains and stresses and the Exiles have seen Ismail Yakubu, Ryan Charles, Jake Harris and Jefferson Louis all fail to take part in training at times since the start of pre-season with minor niggles.
That’s to be expected but the Exiles suffered more serious misfortune with two of their new signings injuring one another within ten minutes of the start of last Friday’s 3-1 defeat at Undy Athletic.
A heavy collision between goalkeeper Alan Julian and defender Tony James has ruled both players out of training this week and it is understood neither are likely to feature this afternoon.
That means goalkeeper Ashley Morris, formerly of Merthyr and Llanelli is primed for a start as he bids to win a deal with the Rodney Parade club.
Other trialists such as ex-Newport winger Kerry Morgan, midfielder Sam Gwynne and pace merchant Curtis Hutson – a cousin of Manchester United and Team GB captain Ryan Giggs – should also get another chance to impress.
Boss Edinburgh admits that with key friendlies to come at home to Bristol Rovers, Yeovil Town and Swansea City he won’t be taking chances with any players carrying injury concerns.
"It’s foolish from my perspective to risk anything minor becoming something more than that," he said.
"We’ve worked the players hard so far in pre-season but there is a good structure to it and if a few of the boys need to sit out a friendly or two to protect themselves against a long term injury problem then so be it."
County will be playing for a memorial trophy in honour of lifelong fan Evesham Carl Lewis when they take on Evesham.
Justin Edinburgh’s side travel to the Spiers and Hartwell Jubilee Stadium for a pre-season fixture with a difference today.
Lewis, who died in July 2009 at the age of 48, was the brother-in-law of Evesham committee member Morris Allen.
He arranged the match and provided a trophy that Lewis’ widow Michelle and family Carl, Joseph, Christina and Rachael will present to the winners after the game.
Evesham have invited several other members of the family to the game at the club's new stadium and it is hoped this fixture will become an annual event in his memory.