NAGGY BOBBY HELPED ME GET FIT

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Joshua Richards

AF­TER five years of mar­riage, Car­los Ed­wards knows it’s al­ways best to lis­ten to your bet­ter half.

And he ex­tended that mantra to Mill­wall physio Bobby Bacic af­ter he pushed Ed­wards to his lim­its in his re­cov­ery from knee lig­a­ment dam­age to earn a new deal at The Den this week.

Ed­wards was eight games into his per­ma­nent ca­reer with Mill­wall 11 months ago, fol­low­ing a short loan spell, when he suf­fered his in­jury seven min­utes into an oth­er­wise for­get­table goal­less draw with Not­ting­ham For­est.

So com­pli­cated was the process of his op­er­a­tion, Ed­wards spent two nights in hos­pi­tal and the next six weeks us­ing a brace and crutches to hob­ble around.

Dur­ing that time he cel­e­brated his 36th birth­day and could have been for­given for de­cid­ing it was time to throw in the towel on his ca­reer.

Chal­leng­ing

But, with the help of Bacic and all at Mill­wall, he has now come through the other side and – though there was a mass ex­o­dus at The Den dur­ing the sum­mer – Ed­wards has penned a con­tract un­til Jan­uary.

The Trinidad & Tobago full-back ad­mits his re­la­tion­ship with Bacic was akin to a mar­riage, but he’s now glad that he was nagged.

“Early on it was dif­fi­cult,” said Ed­wards. “The in­jury was fresh and it was a strug­gle to get back on my feet.

“It was chal­leng­ing, but the help I had from Bob the physio and the rest of the staff was great. And the play­ers too, just be­ing in train­ing, hav­ing a laugh again with the boys then see­ing them work­ing out­side gave me the in­cen­tive to work hard. It was a team ef­fort.

“It was like a mar­riage with Bob.You ar­gue with your wife, but know she is al­ways right and give in. It was like that with Bob, some­times I didn’t want to do it, but he said I should and was right.

“Re­tire­ment never crossed my mind though. I’m 36, but they say age is just a num­ber and for me it re­ally is, be­cause I feel good.

“At some point I’ll have to hang my boots up and maybe look at coach­ing, but for now I want to play football and I feel I still have some­thing to of­fer to Mill­wall.”

Now Ed­wards has re­turned to full fit­ness, his next goal is to try and turn his six-month deal at Mill­wall into some­thing more per­ma­nent and aid their quest to make an im­me­di­ate re­turn to the Cham­pi­onship.

Shaun Cum­mings has held the right-back berth in the open­ing weeks of the sea­son and Ed­wards knows 86 in­ter­na­tional caps gives him no di­vine right to walk straight back into the team.

But, if he does get his chance, Ed­wards has vowed to try and re­pay the help he has been af­forded at the south Lon­don club.

“The club could have turned its back on me, but they gave me the chance to con­tinue and I don’t think I can re­pay them,” he added. “I hope my per­for­mances jus­tify their faith in

me.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

RE­JOICE: Car­los Ed­wards says Mill­wall physio Bobby Bacic – lean­ing over the stricken player as he is car­ried off on a stretcher, inset – has helped him over­come his ca­reerthreat­en­ing in­jury

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