Long wait is nearly over for Newport County manager Justin Edinburgh as he prepares to face Southend United (From Echo)
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Long wait is nearly over for Newport County manager Justin Edinburgh as he prepares to face Southend United
NEWPORT County manager Justin Edinburgh will finally face his former Southend United side in a competitive fixture this weekend — 23 years after leaving the club.
The former Shrimpers left-back, who made 47 appearances while at Roots Hall, has never come up against his first professional club since his departure in 1990.
But that will all change on Saturday when Blues visit Rodney Parade.
And it is a match Edinburgh has been looking forward to ever since the fixtures were first released in the summer.
“Southend and Portsmouth were the first four games I looked out for and it will be great to finally come up against Blues this weekend,” said Edinburgh, 43.
“I went back to Roots Hall for a pre-season friendly with Tottenham the year after I left as that was part of my transfer but I’ve never been involved in a competitive fixture against them.
“It’s certainly been a long time coming but it’s nearly here now and I’m looking forward to coming up against them.
Edinburgh, who has previously managed both Billericay Town and Grays Athletic, guided Newport to promotion from the National Conference last season.
And, with his team currently ninth in the League Two table, the County chief has been delighted by the start to the season.
“I think we’ve been exceptional so far, especially when you consider we’ve had nine first team players out injured at times,” said Edinburgh, who was born in Basildon.
“There is an obvious difference between League Two and the Conference and I think you come up against teams who have three of four quality players rather than just one or two.
“But the players have adjusted well and we want to build on the good start we’ve made.”
Edinburgh is also keen to keep on impressing in the dugout and he is delighted to have finally become a manager in the Football League.
However, he remains hungry to succeed and hopes to eventually become a Premier League manager.
“It’s taken me longer than I would’ve hoped to get here but every game is a learning experience and I want to get as high up as I can as a manager,” said Edinburgh.
“There are managers at this level like Nigel Worthington, Aidy Boothroyd and obviously Phil Brown who have been in charge of Premier League teams and that’s what I want to go on to do.”
But for now, Edinburgh’s sights are set on Saturday’s game and securing three points against a Southend team he still has plenty of affection for.
“As Newport manager I’ll be going all out for three points this weekend but Southend gave me my first chance of senior football and I’ll always be grateful for that,” said Edinburgh.
“I had four great years there, won a promotion and playing there got me my move to Spurs as well.
“I have fond memories of my time there but I’m fully aware of the problems and the circumstances they have there now.
“It saddens me to be honest because Southend are a great club who will always mean a lot to me, just not on Saturday!” he added.