GARY Rowett reckons Phil Edwards has become an unsung hero for Burton Albion this season.
The 27-year-old right-back has been outstanding for the Brewers in recent weeks.
He looks like one of the bargains of the summer after signing on a free transfer from Rochdale – with his arrival almost going unnoticed amid more glamorous signings.
But Rowett knows his Bootle-born defender is a good ‘un.
“People just take it as read that Phil’s a ‘good League Two player’,” he said. “I think he’s better than that – he’s aggressive, gets tight to his man and wants to defend.
“He’s good defensively and has the energy to get forward.
“I think he’s been very, very good.”
Edwards, an Evertonian who actually prefers to play at centre-half, has been in competition with Rory Delap for the right-back slot, but has made it his own in Delap’s absence with a hamstring injury.
“Earlier in the season I’m sure there was a little bit of frustration he didn’t start,” said Rowett.
“But we don’t expect Rory to play 50 games, so there was always an opportunity for that position to be really competitive.
“I think Phil’s got better and better.
“He’s a good player and a really good character – he’s versatile as well.
“I’ve always been impressed with him when I saw him play against us and in other games.
“He’s been around for quite a while at the likes of Accrington, Stevenage and Rochdale.”
Rowett has been pleased with all his defenders this season and the approach they display to the game.
None of them are ‘difficult’ to manage and go about their jobs in an unfussy manner.
“We’re seeing Phil getting more and more comfortable now he’s had a run of games in the same position,” said the manager.
“He’s really low maintenance - and so are all the back four.
“Phil, Sharpesy (Ian Sharps), Shane Cansdell-Sherriff and Damo (McCrory) just go about their job - as do all the defenders at the club.
“When you start the season and have got quite a few senior players and big characters, one or two can go under the radar, like Phil and Sharpesy have.
“Again, I think Ian’s been fantastic - I’d put those two in a similar vein.