Bobby Edwards embracing Portadown’s proud history

Portadown goalkeeper Bobby Edwards.
Portadown goalkeeper Bobby Edwards.

Bobby Edwards’ early impressions of the Irish League scene have served up the full range of experiences - but with off-the-field life a straight success story.

The USA-born goalkeeper arrived in Northern Ireland last month keen to step in between the posts with Portadown as part of his overall development.

A draw, win and defeat across Bluefin Sport Championship fixtures to date have left Portadown facing disjointed early-season returns.

But Edwards’ adjustment to a different country has been a smooth transition and the 23-year-old cites support from those connected to the club a key part of that progress.

“My team-mates and people at Portadown have been superb and I travel to training and games with the guys also living in Belfast, plus spend a lot of social time with people like Paddy McNally and Conall McGrandles,” said Edwards. “That has helped me settle in over here in Northern Ireland and I’ve also found it a really interesting place to explore.

“I’ve also loved getting to grips with the Championship and learning as much as I can about the league and opposition.

“I went to watch the Dundela game against PSNI during the week and I think it is important to get up to speed as quickly as possible.

“The coaching staff at Portadown provide plenty of information on our opponents and as a goalkeeper it can only help me prepare.

“The more knowledge I have as to what to potentially expect from rival players or set-pieces can only help me help the team.

“You only have to look at results across the league so early in the season to see there is no clear pattern.

“We have not had an ideal start but there are good moments to build on and everyone is aware the Ballinamallard loss came off a poor display.

“But we know what works and everyone is determined to work hard and get back on track, hopefully, starting this weekend away to Knockbreda.”

Edwards’ first taste of both the high of victory and pain of defeat arrived at Shamrock Park across the past week and, although thousands of miles from America, he is certainly feeling at home within the Ports ground.

“I love playing at Shamrock Park and we were all so disappointed we let the fans down on Saturday,” said Edwards. “But to see the support they give us means so much and already you feel the sense of community and pride people have in the club.

“I’ve enjoyed talking to fans and people around the club of different ages, it gives you that real sense of being part of something much bigger than one player.

“I look around the old photographs on the walls of the club and you see the great teams of the past and see the trophies they’ve won.

“I was aware of some of that history from researching Portadown before I joined and know how difficult a period it has been for everyone in recent years.

“The passion to get back up to the Premiership does come with expectations but, as players, we must draw inspiration from that situation and use it to push us forward.

“The history and people connected to Portadown make the club so strong.”