BRING on the competition.
That is the message from Carlos Edwards after finally committing his future to Ipswich Town.
The 33-year-old has spent all season trying to convince Paul Jewell and fans alike that he can be the real deal at right-back.
While the Town boss has always looked for competition in that position, Edwards – a naturally attacking wide-man – has made that place his own in a turbulent season for club and player alike.
And while it might not stop Jewell from looking for another right-sided defender in the summer, the stand-in skipper will remain the man to beat when the squad return for pre-season after he agreed terms on a new one-year deal – with an option for a second year.
The news leaves manager Paul Jewell with just six of his current first team squad out of contract this summer – Richard Wright, Grant Leadbitter, Lee Bowyer, Jason Scotland, Tommy Smith and Ibrahima Sonko as well as American keeper Cody Cropper.
Edwards has never made any secret of his desire to extend his career at Ipswich Town and his words have been largely matched on-the-pitch where he has been one of the club’s most consistent performers this season.
But despite starting the Trinidadian international in all-but-one of his league matches this season, an apparent delay in offering the 33-year-old a new deal led to speculation that Jewell was looking to clear the decks.
But chief executive Simon Clegg today confirmed: “We have had good dialogue with Carlos over the last few weeks and I’m delighted to confirm that we have agreed terms with him over a deal for next season.”
While looking to end the season on a high, Jewell must also weigh up the remaining six players in his squad facing an uncertain future.
Scotland’s stipulation in his contract leaves him needing just two more starts to earn a new deal and that looks likely to resolve itself while most Town fans hope Smith’s improved performances of late will earn the New Zealand centre-back a new contract.
Leadbitter’s situation is slightly less clear with the midfielder believed to be one of the club’s top earners meaning he might consider other offers before making a decision.
Sonko, Wright and Bowyer were only signed until the end of this season and Jewell will think very carefully about his plans and finances for next season before deciding whether to offer any of the trio an extended deal.
Meanwhile, Jewell yesterday confirmed Leadbitter is expected to recover from his groin injury and take his place against Peterborough on Saturday.