Justin Edinburgh: Cup upset possible if 'Spurs show sign of weakness'

Justin Edinburgh lifts the Conference play-off trophy in the air
Edinburgh took charge of 181 games at Newport County, winning 75, including the 2013 Conference play-off final
FA Cup fourth round: Newport County v Tottenham Hotspur
Venue: Rodney Parade, Newport Date: Saturday, 27 March Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Coverage: Listen live on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio London & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Ex-Tottenham defender and Newport boss Justin Edinburgh believes the Exiles can cause an upset when Spurs visit Rodney Parade the FA Cup fourth round.

Leyton Orient boss Edinburgh was part of the last Tottenham team to win the competition in 1991 and played over 250 games for Spurs from 1990-2000 as well as managing County from 2011-2015.

He thinks Mike Flynn's side could surprise Tottenham on Saturday.

"If there is any weakness in their mentality I can see an upset," he said.

Rodney Parade 'a throwback'

Rodney Parade vs Leeds
Rodney Parade was packed out for Newport's third-round tie against Leeds. Saturday's game against Tottenham will be a sell out.

Edinburgh, who took over as Leyton Orient manager in November after leaving Northampton Town in August, says Tottenham's Premier League stars will need to adjust to playing at Newport's ground.

The Exiles share Rodney Parade - traditionally a rugby ground - with Pro14 region Dragons as well as the original occupants, Welsh Premiership side Newport RFC.

The complicated ground share that began in 2012 has led to problems with the playing surface with the Exiles seeing several matches postponed.

Several managers have criticised Rodney Parade's pitch in recent seasons, but those issues have been addressed this season after the ground and Dragons were taken over by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU).

The WRU installed a new £750,000 drainage system over the summer and the Exiles now have one of the better playing surfaces in League Two.

However, the facilities, particularly the dressing rooms, are a world away from the creature comforts of Premier League grounds, let alone Wembley.

Tottenham's players and especially their manager Mauricio Pochettino and his coaching staff will also have to deal with the close proximity of fans to the pitch and Edinburgh feels it could all play a part in a shock result.

"It (Rodney Parade) is a throwback, the pitch is a lot better than when I managed there, but the surroundings, it is still an old, terraced stadium and it will be hostile," Edinburgh said.

"Even Pochettino won't have been in an environment that tense and I've spoken to some Newport people, they would have preferred the game at Wembley for the money, but they know if there is any chance of an upset it was the home draw.

"If Spurs players show any sign of weakness, there is a chance of an upset.

"To Tottenham I would say 'mentality is key'. If a Spurs player is weak that Newport crowd will sense it and they will play on it and prey on it.

"The people who say the magic of the cup has gone, that it has lost its romance, wait until they get to Newport on Saturday!

"The city will be amber and black and absolutely rocking."

The biggest game since Wembley

Edinburgh guided Newport back to the Football League in just his second season in charge
Edinburgh guided Newport back to the Football League in just his second season in charge

Edinburgh's crowning moment as a player came in Tottenham's 2-1 FA Cup final win over Nottingham Forest in 1991, but his top managerial moment also came at Spurs' current temporary home.

As Newport manager Edinburgh led the Exiles from the bottom of the Conference to promotion via the play-offs, thanks to a 2-0 success over Wrexham in 2013.

"It is a huge game for Newport, probably only the game at Wembley to get back in the league after 25-years would compare," he said.

"This is the biggest game, the biggest financial reward they will get for a long, long time.

"It's a game that can give the club stability for a couple of years.

"They have made Rodney Parade a fortress again and I am excited for both teams."

'Tottenham need to start winning trophies'

Justin Edinburgh celebrates 1991 FA Cup final win with teammates
Edinburgh (in the white hat) started at Wembley for Tottenham's 1991 FA Cup final win over Nottingham Forest

Edinburgh was part of the celebrations as Spurs left White Hart Lane at the end of 2016-17 and still has close ties with his former club.

He believes the current group of players must win silverware to build on the progress made under Pochettino that has seen them finish third and second in the past two seasons.

"They have a fantastic manager and squad of players, but they need to start adding silverware and the mentality of how to win things," he told BBC Radio London.

"The league is a tall order, but this year I think the FA Cup is something that could be theirs.

"A club of Tottenham's size want to be winning trophies, it is the next hurdle.

"For this group of players to win something together, it would really give them belief to become a real force, going into that new stadium.

"You are in football for memories, trophies and success and I am sure it is the same for Tottenham's players.

"Winning a medal at Wembley, for me, is second to none."

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