JOHN Aldridge admits he cannot decide who he wants to win as two of his former sides do battle at Wembley tomorrow.

The 60-year-old achieved legendary status at both Newport County, where he started his professional career, and Tranmere Rovers, where he ended his playing days and became manager.

Aldridge won’t be there for the League Two play-off final but he’ll be watching from afar and hoping that both sides can somehow emerge as winners.

“I can't pick a winner,” said the former Republic of Ireland international.

“There is a lot of respect; I have mutual respect for both clubs, obviously for different reasons.

“It will be strange for me watching this one, I was due to go but I am on a family holiday. I would have loved to be there.

“I follow Newport and Tranmere so it is hard for me. I am backing both clubs to win.

“It is a huge game on a huge scale and I have far too much respect to say who I think will win.

“I am gutted someone has to lose out. At the end of the game my thoughts will be with the team who loses.

"I will be happy for the winners, but really gutted for whoever loses.”

Aldridge scored 87 goals in 198 appearances for County between 1979 and 1984, winning promotion to the third tier and the Welsh Cup in 1980 and helping Len Ashurst’s men to the quarter-finals of the European Cup Winners’ Cup the following year.

“Newport gave me my start in the game, the opportunity to do what I had always wanted to do which was to play professional football,” he told BBC Radio Wales.

“They signed me for £3,500 at the time from South Liverpool with Len Ashurst and I had five great years there, it was brilliant.

“In the first year we won promotion and the Welsh Cup, second year the Cup Winners' Cup where we were very unlucky in the quarter-final against Carl Zeiss Jena.

“The total experience there was great; it was like my apprenticeship in football at the lower levels.

“I met so many great people, made so many good friends in Newport and they are memories that I will treasure for the rest of my life. It was a great spot for me at the right time.”

Reflecting on his time at Somerton Park threw up one particular memory for the man who went on to play for Oxford United and his boyhood club Liverpool and featured at the 1994 World Cup with Ireland.

South Wales Argus:

“I lived right by the ground on Cromwell Road, my wife moved down and we were well settled in Newport,” he said.

“The old Newport County was a great club, well run, they were really good people to work under, tough, not like the modern day, but the place was buzzing as we had a very good side for that level.

“We were promoted from the old Division Four at Walsall. I managed to get a couple of goals and it was a great feeling for all of us, my first promotion in my first season.

“The lads filled me with champagne and I just remember getting back to Newport and some lad hugging me and I was sick all over him! I was trying to apologise, but he was alright with it. He said he’d never wash the shirt again!

“I have never drunk champagne since that day.”

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