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Luton manager Mike Newell was composed as he faced questions on his Trinidad and Tobago signing, Carlos Edwards, on Tuesday night after Luton's 1-0 League Championship loss at Queen's Park Rangers.


It was Edward's second full appearance, again as a right back, and, the Luton press insisted, he showed a marked improvement from his full debut in a 1-1 weekend draw at Wolverhampton. Which showing, they wanted to know, represented the real Edwards?

Newell believes that the best is yet to come.

"It is only his second game in a Luton shirt and he is a good player," said Newell. "(Right back) is not his normal position but (we lost our first choice right back and) Carlos is doing a good job for us there. He will definitely play plenty of games for us and in his proper position too."

Edwards was equally relaxed when discussing his promotion from Wrexham, who have bounced between League One and Two for the past three seasons, to ambitious Luton Town, who are one rung below the England Premier League and hungry to graduate.

"The level is higher than I expected," Edwards told the Trinidad Express. "The quality of play is better and more teams play ball possession than in the lower leagues. I am still learning, even from my opponents.

"But it is just a matter of time before I settle in."

On Tuesday's evidence, he is a quick learner. Edwards was not given freedom of the flank but, as a full back, he exhibited good positional sense and tactical discipline. On the defensive, Edwards never left his feet to tackle but won tackles by imposing his will on the QPR attackers. He channeled his opposing flanker down a blind alley and, when his opponent least expected it, picked his pocket. Mission accomplished.

Edwards curbed his attacking instinct significantly, though, and rarely got within 30 yards of the Queen's Park goal. But his touch was so sure when the ball came his way that Luton goalkeeper Marlon Beresford even took to throwing a couple for his Caribbean full back, a rare gesture for a British goalkeeper.

His influence was insufficient to decide the match, though. A sweet second half free kick from Lee Cook split the two sides although a draw may

have been just.

Luton started brighter and had two good chances to take the lead in the first half only for QPR to drag themselves back into the game after the interval. And Cook stole the plaudits with a curling left footed free kick in the 57th minute.

Luton, by then, had run out of ways to get behind the opposing backline and never looked capable of an equaliser despite the late ejection of QPR midfielder Tommy Docherty.

However, the 39-year-old Newell, one of Britain's youngest managers, promised a swift response to the defeat.

"We're not in the habit of getting beat," said Newell. "And it is not something we plan on getting used to."

Edwards, who joined Luton in the summer despite fielding inquiries from more established outfits like Leeds United, is sure he is in the right place.

"We always look for the biggest here and set high standards," said Edwards. "My first goal this season is to do well and my second is to achieve promotion to the Premiership. Everyone here believes we can do it and, in our first four or five games, I think we showed what we are capable of."

Edwards said that he was enjoying his football at club and international level despite being used alternately as a wide midfielder and full back for both teams.

"If the national coach or the Luton manager have faith in me to play in (the right back) position, then I will play there," said Edwards. "You can be called upon to play anywhere as a professional and I am always ready for that.

"I am really looking forward to this season and especially our next two World Cup qualifying matches. Everyone is very positive and there is a real buzz about the team and I hope the T&TFF and the fans come behind us again and give us their full support.

"We are definitely coming to bring more goals (against Panama and Mexico)."

Newell is sure he will deliver some for Luton as well.