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Burton Albion defender Phil Edwards is so reliable boss Gary Rowett will only sign back-up in an emergency

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 02, 2014

By Tom Sloan

IN SAFE HANDS ... Burton right-back Phil Edwards.

IN SAFE HANDS ... Burton right-back Phil Edwards.

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PHIL Edwards has made the right-back slot at Burton Albion his own.

The 28-year-old Mr Reliable was outstanding last season after arriving on a free transfer from Rochdale, coming second in the club's player of the year poll.

He first came into the side after Rory Delap's injury problems and then saw off competition from David Gray for his position at full-back.

In all competitions, he made 51 appearances for the Brewers.

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Now, Gary Rowett is so confident in Edwards' abilities, he will only bring in cover should the former Accrington defender get injured.

"We're quite happy with how we are," said the manager. "(Right-back) Chris (Ribeiro) did well in the games he played, particularly in the game against Sheffield United.

"But it's difficult because Phil has been so good and you're only bringing someone in to sit on the bench for a period of time.

"We did it with David Gray last year.

"Sometimes it puts pressure in a negative way on the player who's got the shirt.

"Moreover, you've got a guy not playing so you get a problem in the squad."

Albion have other options in an emergency at right-back.

Midfield anchor John Mousinho can play there and Robbie Weir has given it a go in training with positive results.

"I know for a fact that John's played right-back on a few occasions at previous clubs," said Rowett.

"Also, we've played Robbie there in training once or twice and he can quite comfortably fill in there.

"Should the worst happen, then basically we can bring someone in to play games rather than bringing someone in just to sit around."

Rowett plans to have a smaller squad this season with fewer players out of the reckoning.

Having versatile players such as Edwards, Callum McFadzean and George Taft helps.

"I think that's one of the things we've learned this season," said the manager.

"While competition is crucial, too much brings about unhappy players sat on the sidelines.

"We've tried to lean towards a tighter squad this season with players who can all play."

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