Talking Football - Edinburgh so close to earning Wembley trip

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One year ago Justin Edinburgh was facing up to the financial crisis which quickly led to the demise of Rushden & Diamonds.

Now he is looking forward to what he describes as the “immense” prospect of leading out Newport County in their first-ever FA Carlsberg Trophy final at Wembley Stadium on May 12.

They hold a 3-1 advantage going into Saturday’s semi-final second leg away to Ryman League side Wealdstone who last weekend suffered only their third defeat in 35 games.

Edinburgh admits the tie is far from over – although there can be no doubt that Newport are odds-on favourites to go through.

Having won the FA Cup and League Cup during his playing career at Tottenham Hotspur, it would be a special moment for him to walk out at Wembley as a manager.

It’s certainly a change of fortune following tough times with Diamonds who, looking back to March last year, were eighth in the Blue Square Bet Premier and still dreaming of a play-off push while problems began to emerge behind the scenes at Nene Park.

The priority must be keeping Newport clear of the relegation zone at the end of this season and a day out for the Trophy final would be a big bonus.

There will be 675 fans making the trip from south Wales to Wealdstone and hoping the return journey is a happy one.

Newport have other connections with Diamonds through on-loan midfielder Max Porter, player-coach Wayne Hatswell and cup-tied forward Ryan Charles.

Former Northampton Town pair Glyn Thompson and Paul Rodgers are also among the County squad.

The other semi-final looks finely balanced as York City take a 1-0 lead to Luton Town.

Familiar faces from the first-leg line-ups included Jon Challinor and Moses Ashikodi for the Minstermen while ex-Diamonds duo Curtis Osano and Jake Woolley came on as Hatters substitutes to join Greg Taylor.

It’s fair to say York and Luton will be more concerned about winning at Wembley in the Conference play-off final in May for a return to the Football League.

However, there is no excuse for the appalling lack of FA Trophy coverage on the new-look BBC website.

This is non-League football’s major knockout competition and my memories go back to the 1984-85 season when Wealdstone ran out 2-1 winners.

Back then, my dad and I were among more than 12,000 Boston United supporters in a crowd of 20,775 as the Pilgrims couldn’t quite celebrate their 50th anniversary in style.