Edwards says League 1 football was too good an opportunity to turn down

Defender expected to remain at Accrington this summer

BORO new boy Phil Edwards said he fully expected to be staying at Accrington Stanley next season until Stevenage offered him the chance of playing League 1 football.

Edwards turned down a new two year deal to stay with Accrington in order to sign a one year deal – with the option of a second year – at Boro this week, but says that he wasn’t looking to leave Accrington until the opportunity to try his luck in League 1 came along.

Speaking to The Comet, Edwards said: “Moving on wasn’t something I’d really considered as the season ended.

“I wasn’t particularly looking for another club and I didn’t have any interest in any other clubs at the time, so I thought I’d still be at Accrington next season.

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“However the manager got in touch with my agent and discussed the offer and when I thought I had the chance of playing League 1 football I decided to sign for (Boro).”

Edwards played more than 240 games during his six season spell at Accrington but joins Jimmy Ryan in leaving the club this summer as a number of players look for higher level football after Stanley missed out on promotion last season, ironically at the hands of Boro in the npower League 2 play-off semi-finals.

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“There are a lot of players who wanted to play at a higher level like myself, but obviously we missed out last season,” Edwards said.

“These are players who want to test themselves week in week out, and no disrespect to Accrington because the club means a lot to me, but they want to be playing at a higher level.

“I was at Accrington six years and really enjoyed the time I spent at the club, but I just felt it was time for a new challenge when it was offered to me.”

Edwards says he expects to get a ribbing from his new manager and teammates when he meets up for pre-season training next week after Boro’s play-off win last season when Stevenage beat nine-man Stanley 1-0 in an explosive second leg tie.

And after scoring 21 goals over the past two seasons including 16 from the penalty spot the defender will be looking to put his name forward to take spot kicks should Graham Westley look for competition for current spot kick taker John Mousinho.

“I scored 21 over the past two years, most of which have come from penalties,” Edwards said.

“I think I’ve scored 16 penalties, so I’ll be looking to put my name forward if there’s a chance I can take them when I meet up.

“I’m sure I’ll get a ribbing from them when we meet up. I’m sure Graham and Dino (Maamria) will be the first ones to give me a bit, so I’m ready for that, but I just hope to settle in quickly and hit the ground running.

“There’s a lot of big teams in the league next season, but we won’t be scared of any of them. We’ll be an unknown quantity for most, but we’ll give as good as we get.”

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