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Club News

Press Conference | Rob Edwards pre-Watford (H)

30 March 2023

Club News

Press Conference | Rob Edwards pre-Watford (H)

30 March 2023

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Manager Rob Edwards sat in-front of the press ahead of Saturday's derby against Watford in the Sky Bet Championship.

The man who started the season in charge of the Hertfordshire side, before taking over at Kenilworth Road in November following Nathan Jones' departure for Southampton, knows exactly what the game means to Town fans.

"I can’t sit here in front of you and say that it is just another game, I recognise it’s not," said the 40-year-old. "I know what it means and I know what it means to the supporters.

"Most football players don’t support the team they play for, so it’s difficult to fully engage with that. But what we can do is recognise that the vast majority of us have been brought up in this country and we recognise the importance of all derbies, and what it means to supporters. We need to draw on that. There’s nothing wrong with talking about it and trying to use that as well. We’re at home for this game and we’ve got to try and draw on that and use it."

The Hatters won the last derby played at the Kenny two years ago, but that game was played out to a backdrop of empty seats and echoed shouts from the makeshift benches in the Enclosure during the behind-closed-doors season of 2020-21.

Edwards plans to use the sell-out crowd to his team's advantage on Saturday lunchtime for the first home derby in front of fans for 17 years.

"We always have a final message. That’ll be no different, but I’m expecting that to be a little bit easier this time," said Edwards. "Our supporters have obviously been incredible since we’ve come in, at home and away, but I’m expecting this one to be a bit livelier than any other game that we’ve had so far.

"I’m expecting that when the lads warm-up, for it to be loud and pretty raucous then, so I think the lads will feel that it’s a little bit different when they’re out there, even in the warm-up. Our supporters can help with the rally call before the game anyway."

Asked whether the 9,000-plus Town fans inside the ground can make a difference, Edwards went on: "They always do. Our supporters have been incredible for us, they’ve been really with us, 2-0 down against Millwall, they helped us fight back. They helped us get over the line in games where we’ve been 1-0 up and it's been tight, and no doubt we’re going to need them again. It's not like I’m going to have to encourage that on the weekend at all.

"We’re in a fantastic position in the league, it's our biggest game, it’s the one that all our supporters look for first and it’s the first time we’re going to be playing in front of our supporters in this game in 17 years.

"It’s an amazing opportunity to have a great day, but it's down to us to work extremely hard, respect them because they’ve got very good players, Chris Wilder’s a really good coach, a very experienced manager, so we know how difficult it’s going to be. But we hope it's going to be a really good day for us."

Edwards knows the fans will give them a good reception when they come out before the game, but he added: "The bottom line is that we need to make sure they are giving us that same reception when we are going back in, up the tunnel.

"That's been our line this week, and we know that they are going to behind us from the start and in the warm-up, as the lads come out and we all come out, as loud as possible - brilliant. And througout the game. Obviously that's down to us to help as well with the atmosphere. Our job is to make sure that they are cheering us and clapping us when we go in."


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