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edwards7.jpgCarlos Edwards can't wait for the new season after his first year in the topflight was ravaged by injury. Edwards said: "I'm relishing the challenge. It will be like my first year in the Premier League.
"Last year was a start-stop situation with the injuries. But I will come back fully fit and hopefully I will play my part, pushing for a starting spot.

"There will be a lot of competition for places, but hopefully I will keep myself in the picture."

Edwards arrived at the Stadium of Light in a £1.4million move from Luton in January last year, and wasted little time in announcing himself to the club's fans.

In 15 high-octane Coca-Cola Championship appearances, he helped to fuel the club's drive towards the title, and contributed five goals in the process.

There was a excitement on Wearside at the prospect of unleashing Edwards on top-flight defences, but his fitness problems meant that never really materialised.

Edwards said: "I wouldn't say it was a disappointment, but certainly, there was a bit of sadness.

"It could have been any of the players who were injured, but unfortunately, it was me.

"But in any sport, injuries happen. I look back on it and it happened for a reason.

"I am a positive-thinking type of guy and I am not going to dwell on the past.

"I have already put last season behind me and I am only concentrating on this season and being fully fit, making sure the things I didn't do for last season, I will be 100% sure I can do this season."

Unlike many of his team-mates, Edwards has had little time to become accustomed to the rigors of life in the Premier League, and has certainly not had the chance to test himself on a sustained basis when fully match-fit.

But what little time he had on the pitch last season has given him a clear indication of what is required against the country's best defenders, and he is under few illusions as to the task ahead.

He said: "No disrespect to the Championship, but when you do come into the Premier League, you have to raise your game at least five or 10 steps.

"It is a faster, quicker game and you are playing against top international players.

"Obviously, they are not going to give you as much time and space as Championship teams give you.

"You have to learn quickly in the Premier League because no-one is going to give you time to get that experience."

Edwards may have had too little football for his own liking last season, but he had the bonus of a short extension over the summer as a result of his involvement in his country's World Cup campaign.

Trinidad and Tobago successfully negotiated their passage to the group stage of the CONCACAF qualifying campaign with a 3-2 aggregate victory over Bermuda, and will now face Cuba, Guatemala and the USA in six crucial fixtures before the end of the year.

Club manager Roy Keane may have his concerns over the amount of travelling that will entail, and he will hope his winger returns in better shape than compatriot Kenwyne Jones did from the friendly clash with England on June 1.

Sunderland's star striker damaged knee ligaments in a collision with keeper David James, although having endured his own run of misfortune, Edwards is taking a philosophical view.

He said: "It was very [remainder missing]
Fit-again Edwards keen to make up for lost time with Black Cats.
By Our Correspondent, South Wales Echo.


Carlos Edwards could be forgiven for looking forward to the new season with even more relish than the rest of his team-mates. The 29-year-old Sunderland winger had hoped to have a season of Barclays Premier League football behind him by now and to have established himself as a genuine top flight player.

However, having played a major role in dragging the Black Cats into the big time inside his first few months on Wearside, the Trinidad and Tobago international’s fortunes dipped.

A series of injuries meant Edwards was restricted to just 13 appearances, three of them as a substitute. Little wonder then that the former Wrexham and Luton midfielder is desperate to make amends.

Edwards said: “I’m relishing the challenge. It will be like my first year in the Premier League.

“Last year was a start-stop situation with the injuries.

“But I will come back fully fit and hopefully I will play my part, pushing for a starting spot.

“There will be a lot of competition for places, but hopefully I will keep myself in the picture.”