Excitement builds for FA Trophy clash

Jack Edwards celebrates what turned out to be the winner in the previous round against Kingstonian.
Jack Edwards celebrates what turned out to be the winner in the previous round against Kingstonian.

Jack Edwards is hoping Leamington can put on a show for their travelling army at Canvey Island on Saturday.

Brakes are taking two coachloads down for the FA Trophy third round tie against Concord Rangers, with many more travelling down independently and the attacking midfielder says the players realise the magnitude of the occasion.

“It’s a big game to say the least,” said Edwards. “It’s the furthest any of us have got apart from Joe Clarke (who reached the final with Wrexham in 2015).

“At Kingstonian in the last round we didn’t do ourselves justice in the away leg. We didn’t capitalise on our pressure and they got a fortunate goal. This time around we’ll try to put it to bed.”

Edwards admits he knows little about their last-16 opponents who sit 13th in the National League South but he says that is not necessarily a bad thing.

“I’ve never played down there. The gaffer’s done a lot of work on them and he’s got his network of contacts.

“I do know that their wingers are tricky and direct and caused problems for Bath in the last round.

“Sometimes, though, it’s nice to go into a game where you don’t know much about them. It forces you to concentrate on your own game and what you can do.”

Concentrating on his own game has been key to a string of man-of-the-match displays from the combative 28-year-old this season, with the approach also spilling over into his role as captain.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I’ve had snippets at previous clubs,” he said.

“Sometimes you can over-complicate it and let exterior factors creep in.

“I just look after my own game and lead from the front, that’s the way I’ve always approached it.

“First and foremost it is to play as hard and as well as I can.”

Two bookings in the Trophy led to fears Edwards may be suspended for the third round tie.

Thankfully, those proved wide of the mark but it is not the only reason the former Barwell player is relieved to be heading to Essex.

“It’s a distraction from the league, a nice break.

“It’s sandwiched inbetween a lot of trips to the North-East - good clubs, big clubs with big budgets.

“Darlington, Spennymoor have the financial flexibility a lot of clubs don’t have and Gateshead, a big club, a former League club.

“It’s a difficult proposition going up north so it’s a nice change to go down south.

“It also offers the opportunity to get through to the last eight and it’s one we’re all looking forward to.”

n Saturday’s tie will be settled on the day, with extra-time and then penalties following if the sides cannot be separated.