Friday, 13 January 2012

Minshull Signs as Exiles Dream of Wembley


David Pipe Speed Dedication

On Friday morning, Justin Edinburgh provided Newport County fans with an indication of both the kind of attitude he is looking for from his Newport County players and the extent of his drawing power within the game with the announcement that the Exiles had secured the acquisition of Lee Minshull from Wimbledon on a month’s loan deal.

Lee Minshull will play alongside David Pipe (pictured paying tribute to Gary Speed at Yeading, courtesy of Sam Shingler) and Sam Foley in the County midfield.

Minshull, a 6 foot 2 inch powerhouse of a midfielder who has affectionately been nicknamed ‘The Tank’ by the fans at AFC Wimbledon, is noted for his tackling and his ability to get forward and score goals.  He was signed by AFC Wimbledon after having netted 17 goals in just 40 games for Tonbridge Angels, who were then of the Isthmian Premier League, during the 2009-10 season and went on to play 22 games as the club were promoted from the Conference last season. 

Whilst County have already brought in Nat Jarvis, Ryan Charles and Andy Sandell during this current transfer window, Lee Minshull is the first player to be acquisitioned with the funding collected by the supporters at the start of the January transfer window, which at last estimate was standing at an extremely impressive £14,000 with plans being put in place to ensure that more is raised in the next couple of weeks before the transfer window closes. 

With Sandell having started in left midfield against Luton last weekend, it is also noticeable that every signing Justin Edinburgh has made has been with a view to resolving the goalscoring issues at the club.  As yet, no defensive signings have been made and it is this area that Edinburgh may well use further fan raised funds to strengthen.  Despite the 2-0 loss to Luton, which was in no small part as a result of the first half sending off of Ryan Charles, Newport have still scored 14 goals in the last 7 away games at an average of 2 a game.  Those kind of statistics would suggest that scoring goals is not the major problem that some people have claimed it to be.  It is at home that goalscoring has been a problem, but with only 4 goals in total being scored in the last 4 games at Spytty Park, there is a strong argument that the pitch is a significant factor.

Worksop Town Badge

Newport County Badge 2 Worksop Town v Newport County

         FA Trophy 2nd Round

             14 January 2012

         Sandy Lane, Worksop

Should the game survive what is threatening to be a sharp frost this evening, Lee Minshull will be available for Newport County’s away trip to Worksop Town in the last 32 of the FA Trophy.  Whilst avoiding relegation has to be the priority for Justin Edinburgh and his team, the FA Trophy represents the very real possibility of a day out at Wembley and a trophy.

County’s opponents Worksop Town, who list former Sheffield Wednesday stalwarts Chris Waddle and Peter Eustace among their former players, play in the Evo-Stik Premier Division, two divisions below Newport.  Their finest moment came in the FA Cup during the 1920-21 season, when they drew 0-0 with Tottenham Hotpsur at White Hart Lane.

Having been founder members of the Conference North at its institution in 2004, Worksop had developed a team that were pushing for promotion.  However, financial difficulties lead to a 10 point deduction which scuppered any hopes that the club had of playing Conference Premier League football, and a couple of seasons later they were then relegated to the division that they now play in.  The club are currently lying in 10th in the league, but have been quite impressive at home having won 7 of their 13 games (in comparison to County’s 3 wins in 13 at home in the Conference).

Financial problems at Worksop were also accompanied by stadium problems with the club being forced to leave their 3,200 capacity Sandy Road stadium in 2008.  The club have had huge frustrations since then, with a relocation taking place in the close season every year since then.  In 2008-9 Worksop played at Hucknall Town’s ground, before moving to Ilkeston Town the season after.  By 2010 the club were playing in Retford and it was only at the start of the current season that the Tigers moved back to Sandy Lane.

Despite their lowly form and Worksop’s decent home record, Newport will travel to north Nottinghamshire expecting to win and take another step towards lifting the FA Trophy.  Whilst Ryan Charles is unavailable after his sending off, which may cause Justin Edinburgh to look at the possibility of actually starting Jake Harris, the other new signings are all available and the energy and enthusiasm that this should bring to the side should be enough to see them through.

Prediction: Worksop Town 0 Newport County 2

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