Edwards: I Knew Peterborough Would Be Up There With Us
Monday, 4th Nov 2019 13:43
Town winger Gwion Edwards sees former club Peterborough as a good bet to remain among the challengers for promotion from League One this season.
Edwards also sees current leaders Wycombe Wanderers as being capable of lasting the pace to the bitter end in an effort to clinch one of the two places to go up automatically.
Edwards said: “I think I said at the start of the season that I expected Peterborough to be up there. When I was there we were always challenging to get into the play-offs but narrowly missed out. They are a strong side and their strike force has been on fire.
“They are a big threat and so are Wycombe, and if we can beat both of them when we come up against them it will be a big help to our own chances of going up.
"I’m a bit surprised that Wycombe are doing so well but their manager [Gareth Ainsworth] has been there for a while now and a lot of their players have also been working with him for a few years.
"He has assembled a strong squad and it will be a big challenge for us when we play them at Portman Road later this month.”
The Chairboys were the only top-six club to win at the weekend – Town had an enforced day off as they were due to play Bury – but if Paul Lambert’s men can bag all three points at Rochdale tomorrow night they will regain the lead on goal difference and still have a game in hand on most of their rivals.
Town are playing catch-up because fixtures scheduled for international weekends have been cancelled due to several players being called up, boss Lambert preferring to take that course of action rather than taking the option to go ahead without the likes of Alan Judge, Idris El Mizouni, Andre Dozzell and Armando Dobra being available to him.
After tomorrow’s visit to Greater Manchester it could be a further 18 days before Town are in league action again, with the scheduled visit to Oxford United on Saturday likely to be postponed, again because of international call-ups.
Asked how the stop-start nature of the club’s league programme could impact on Town’s promotion chances, Edwards said: “The way I see it, there are both positives and negatives. You’ve got players who are maybe carrying niggles and they get time to recover and work on things to get ready for the next game.
“But if you’re fully fit you don’t want to be waiting too long for the next game. Overall, though, it’s got to be taken as a positive because we get the rest that other teams don’t.”
Turning his attention to the long trip north for tomorrow’s game, Edwards added: “I don’t think there is an easy game in League One and in different games every team will do their utmost to make it hard for us. We just have to stick to the game plan, work hard, give it 100 per cent and get the job done.
“We’re not going there thinking it’s going to be an easy game. You’ve got to go into it with the right attitude – it doesn’t matter who you are playing or at what level, you have to be up for it and ready to go.”
Edwards praised the contribution of striker pair Kayden Jackson and James Norwood, each of whom have scored seven league goals this term to earn a place alongside the top marksmen at this level.
“They’ve done really well to be fair and I imagine it’s quite worrying, frightening even, for opposing defenders when they see their names on the team sheet,” he said.
“Kayden can run in behind with his pace and Nors’ finishing is top-class. It’s good for us but probably not so good for other people. We’re enjoying it and hopefully they can keep knocking them in for us.”
Edwards is certain the injury problems that saw him miss the final two games of last season are definitely a thing of the past, his summer rehab work making him available for the start of the new campaign, although he has been unable to hold down the regular place he covets.
He continued: “It’s all good now. At the start of the season I felt it a bit but it’s fine and I’d like to get a run of games to add something to the team.
"If the manager wants me at right-back I’ll be doing my best to get forward but I don’t mind the defensive side of the job. I like a tackle and a few of the lads have found that out in training. I get stuck in and always have done, no matter what position I’m in.
“Sometimes, the further back you start, the easier your job becomes. I’m comfortable picking the ball up in a deep area because there’s space to drive at players.
"But it’s not every game that goes like that and on other days you’ve got somebody virtually standing on you and right in your face. As wide players – and I think Alan Judge and Danny Rowe would say the same – we like to find pockets of space and get on the ball.
“But there are times when opposition players have obviously been told to stay high up the pitch and get on top of us, so we don’t get a chance to get on the ball from deep.
"You just have to try to work your way into the game in other ways. If they drop off it’s a lot easier but this season, with us being seen as a big threat in League One, the tendency if for them to come at us and that makes life a bit more difficult for us.”
Edwards was relieved to avoid serious injury in last month’s defeat at Accrington when home midfielder Liam McConville committed an ugly, two-footed tackle that saw him escape with a yellow card when many home fans must have feared a red.
The 26-year-old Welshman said: “It was a nasty one but it didn’t hurt too much. He caught me just below the shin pad and although I saw it coming I couldn’t really get out of it.
"I think it probably was a red card and there was a picture going around that clearly showed he had both his feet off the ground. I think you get them in League One but you’ve just got to get on with it.”
Finally, Edwards was asked about the much-publicised changes at the training ground initiated by manager Paul Lambert, who was scathing about the facilities he inherited just over a year ago, referring to it as ‘a mess’ and resembling ‘a bombsite’ when he met supporters last week.
Edwards said: “You won’t get a training ground like ours at many clubs outside the Premier League and the changes that have been made have made it better still.
"It shows that in League One terms this is a big football club and the decision to freshen it up benefits everyone. The recovery room helps us massively between games, so well done to the manager and I’m guessing there might be more to come.
“What’s a recovery room? It has all the facilities, things like pumps for your legs and an ice bath, and there’s also a Jacuzzi so you can do hot and cold.
"The lads will go in there after training and do between two and five minutes in the ice bath, similar in the Jacuzzi and repeat it three or four times, then again on a Sunday for those who play on the Saturday. It helps a lot and we appreciate having it.”
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