Call-ups deny Ed­wards any mo­men­tum

Ad­vanc­ing Aus­tralia ca­reer fair enough but This­tle man’s club progress ‘stop-start’

The Herald - Sport - - FOOTBALL - GRAEME MCGARRY

PARTICK THIS­TLE’S at­tack­ing­mid­fielder Ryan Ed­wards ad­mits that he has so far strug­gled to make much of an im­pres­sion on the Firhill first team, but the 22-year-old says his cause hasn’t been helped by the calls for ser­vice that have come from his coun­try.

As cap­tain of the Oly­roos, the Aus­tralian un­der-23 side, be­ing called upon to rep­re­sent his coun­try is an hon­our that the proud Aussie would never be able to turn down, but he ad­mits that the fre­quency of his lengthy trips for their games has had an im­pact on his op­por­tu­ni­ties to im­press his club man­ager Alan Archibald.

At a time of year when most play­ers in Scot­tish foot­ball will be cast­ing a wary eye to­wards the glut of fix­tures ap­proach­ing on the hori­zon dur­ing the hec­tic fes­tive pe­riod, per­haps wish­ing they could in­dulge in a spot of Christ­mas pud­ding and more than a spot of sea­sonal im­bibe­ment, Ed­wards is look­ing at it as a golden chance to show the Partick This­tle supporters what he is all about be­fore head­ing off to sun­nier climes again in Jan­uary.

Speak­ing at a dre­ich Lesser Ham­p­den upon his re­turn to train­ing af­ter in­ter­na­tional duty in Doha and Dubai, he said: “The trip was really good, we had two good games, one against Qatar and one against Iran. We’re still in the friendly stage at the mo­ment, the qual­i­fiers aren’t un­til Jan­uary. I cap­tained the team against Qatar and al­though we lost 3-1, it was never a 3-1 loss, then we drew 1-1 with Iran which was much bet­ter.

“It’s prob­a­bly the big­gest ac­co­lade you can get at any age-group to cap­tain your coun­try. It’s an amaz­ing feel­ing wear­ing the arm­band and walk­ing the boys out. Hear­ing the an­them, even though the crowds aren’t maybe the great­est in youth foot­ball, it’s still an un­be­liev­able feel­ing.

“It’s good to have in­ter­na­tion­als rep­re­sent­ing their coun­try at any club. We’ve also got Mathias Pogba and Mustapha Dum­buya go­ing away with their coun­tries, so it’s great for the pro­file of the club.

“There’s pos­i­tives and neg­a­tives to it, though. I signed for Partick This­tle in Septem­ber, so in the last two or three months I’ve been com­ing and go­ing with the in­ter­na­tional breaks, so I haven’t really got any mo­men­tum go­ing club-wise, and that’s prob­a­bly the neg­a­tive for my­self and the club.

“The pos­i­tive side of it is that I’m play­ing in­ter­na­tional foot­ball and get­ting that ex­po­sure and ex­pe­ri­ence that I can bring back and hope­fully use for the club.

“I feel as if my Partick ca­reer so far has been a bit stop-start. I signed af­ter the sea­son had started and you try your best to get in the team straight away, but all of a sud­den you’re off and when the team is train­ing to­gether as a group you’re miss­ing out on a chance to im­press and to get into the team.

“I’ve gone three times al­ready now on in­ter­na­tional duty but from now un­til Christ­mas there’s six or seven games, so hope­fully I can try to get into the team. The Christ­mas pe­riod is very busy so there’s go­ing to be chances there and it’s a long sea­son, so hope­fully even af­ter the Jan­uary in­ter­na­tional break I’ll have chances to im­press too.”

Stop-start is prob­a­bly an apt de­scrip­tion for Partick This­tle’s sea­son as a whole, given that they didn’t really get go­ing un­til Oc­to­ber. Af­ter a hor­ren­dous open­ing to the cam­paign where they failed to pick up a win in their first 10 games, their form has picked up though. The last six matches have pro­duced three wins, two draws and just a soli­tary de­feat, and Ed­wards is con­fi­dent that they are ca­pa­ble of main­tain­ing a sim­i­lar strike-rate as they at­tempt to lift them­selves away from trou­ble at the bot­tom-end of the ta­ble.

“We’ve shown that when we can pick up a few points how quickly it can move you up the ta­ble,” he said. “On the flip side of that we then had a couple of draws and a loss to Hearts, so we dropped right back down.

“We’re hop­ing that our good re­sults over the last few weeks will help to push us back up. You can see how close the ta­ble is, but as long as we keep play­ing well and pick­ing up points then it will be shown in the ta­ble.

“Our con­sis­tency has got bet­ter over the last few weeks. The Hearts game was a bit of a blip when we lost 4-0, but apart from that our per­for­mances have been really good. We’ve had a few draws where we prob­a­bly should have won, like the game at Dundee when we gave away a late equaliser, but in the game at the week­end the luck was on our side with the goal in the last minute. The points will come, I’m sure.”

WIN­TER IM­PACT: Ryan Ed­wards is hop­ing to break into the This­tle first team

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