HARTLEPOOL United boss Colin Cooper has praised the job being done by Newport manager Justin Edinburgh ahead of tonight’s Sky Bet League Two clash.
And Cooper insists his team have to be wary of the Welsh side enjoying their first season back in the Football League after a 25-year absence.
Thirteenth-placed Pools are just three points outside the play-off positions and could be in the top seven with a win tonight.
But Cooper said the home side, currently 10th, cannot be underestimated.
The 46-year-old said: “What Justin Edinburgh has achieved in his time at Newport has been fantastic – he has got them in the league and they are more than coping.
“We cannot underestimate Newport’s home record, they have been very strong at home this season.”
Edinburgh is likely to be without the injured striker Chris Zebroski, who has a knee injury, while striker Aaron O’Connor has not played this season and faces further groin surgery which will rule him out until the New Year.
Defender Byron Anthony is also out with a broken leg while Lee Minshull, Adedeji Oshilaja, Andrew Hughes, Andy Sandell and Max Porter are also currently sidelined.
Meanwhile, Newport could also be without midfielder David Pipe who was red-carded during Tuesday’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win over Portsmouth. If County do not appeal then he will begin a three-game suspension against Pools tonight.
Cooper added: “Chris Zebroski has scored some goals for them. He is a good player, has been around the leagues and if that is the case and he is out then that is a plus for us.
“We have to be good again and be strong.
“If we can keep the ball out of our goal then we will create chances, there is no two ways about that.”