Edwards raring for Wolves return

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Last Updated: 02/03/18 3:23pm

Dave Edwards is excited to have the opportunity to play at Molineux for the first time since leaving Wolves

Dave Edwards is excited to have the opportunity to play at Molineux for the first time since leaving Wolves

It's set to be an emotional return to Molineux on Saturday for Dave Edwards.

He wasn't quite bundled out the back door at Wolves, but a rapid summer departure meant he never really got to say goodbye properly as he left for Reading after almost a decade at the club.

Ever the professional, however, Edwards is fully focused on securing a vital three points to help the Royals steer themselves away from a relegation battle. If he can force his way back into Jaap Stam's plans for the match, which is live on Sky Sports Football, that is

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"When I left Wolves this was the first fixture I looked for!" he told Sky Sports. "I was unfortunate that when we played them [at home] I had played the few games before but then we changed the system and I was the one sacrificed.

"I'm obviously desperate to play. They're a wonderful football club with great supporters and it would be great to go back to Molineux because realistically it could be the last time for me. I'm 32 now and they're heading for the Premier League.

"Hopefully I can prove my point in training and make sure I'm in the team, but my allegiances will be put to one side because we need three points more than them at the moment."

This time last year Edwards probably thought he'd be heading towards a testimonial around now. The 32-year-old had joined Wolves in 2008 from Luton and went on to make more than 300 appearances, scoring 44 goals in the process.

He wasn't exactly being phased out either. Last season he played 44 times in the Sky Bet Championship and scored 10 times. He was their joint-top scorer in the league.

But things changed rapidly in the summer as Paul Lambert was replaced by Nuno and a horde of new, young and talented players came in. Not that Edwards is in any way bitter.

Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship game between Reading and Sheffield Utd.

Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship game between Reading and Sheffield Utd.

"When it all happened it was very quick and Wolves were playing away that day, so I didn't really get a chance to say my goodbyes," he said. "I went back there for the Sunderland game earlier in the season and managed to get onto the pitch at half-time, which was a nice way to say farewell, but there are a lot of people at the club who I didn't get a chance to say thank you to. It will be nice to go and see some familiar faces.

"I was probably more a favourite in the last three or four years there then in the first half of my career there. The way I play in general splits opinions because a lot of people will think that technically I'm not as good as some other midfielders, but I believe I do a lot of unselfish work which goes unseen.

"The best bit of my game is my anticipation and that doesn't get seen all the time, but I'm confident in my ability and I'm very proud of the career I had at Wolves. Even if the fans there didn't think I was a good player they'll always value the hard work and the fact I gave my absolute all in every game. Hopefully I should get a decent reception."

Edwards also holds Nuno in high regard after the way he dealt with his departure. Rather than freeze the midfielder out and force him to move, the Portuguese boss was up front and honest about the situation he could find himself in.

"Me and Nuno had a really good relationship," said Edwards. "You want your manager to be honest and that's what he was, we had many conversations in pre-season and it got to the point where he said my game time would be limited. He said that he didn't want me to leave but if I wanted to go, and the right offer came in, he wouldn't stand in my way.

"At that point Wales were in a strong position to get a World Cup place and I knew I had to be playing, so when a club like Reading come along it was a no-brainer for me. Nuno was great about that and I was really excited to come and work with Jaap Stam."

Things haven't exactly gone the way Edwards would have hoped since. Reading were high-flyers in the second tier last season but have struggled badly this campaign. Heading into the weekend they find themselves just four points off the relegation zone.

Edwards, however, insists that under-pressure Stam is still the right man for the job.

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"You look at the success last year and he has to be judged off that by some degree," he said. "This season it hasn't quite happened but that's not down to his ability to coach, I think he's improved every player in the dressing room and I feel I've learned a lot off of him myself already.

"He's definitely got the attributes to get us out of this and help us kick on next season. There are so many different factors as to why we're in this position at the moment, but we were a penalty kick away from being in the Premier League last year.

"The fans are obviously disappointed but the only way we can change that is with our performances on the pitch. We've got some really big games coming up and we need to do it."

Wolves have been wobbling a little in the Championship lately, seeing their lead at the top slip to six points after a failure to win in three games.

Edwards is confident that his former side have the quality and resilience to bounce back, but he hopes it happens after Saturday.

"I always knew they've got the best squad in the Championship and you can see that," he said. "Like all football clubs you never know how it's going to go when the games start coming thick and fast and the weather turns, but they make a joke of it now about these Portuguese players being able to handle a cold, wet Tuesday night, and then they go and win 4-0 in all these different places! I've been so impressed with the way they've managed to sustain it.

"Their confidence might not be as high as it was earlier in the season, but they might be more of a wounded animal ready to come out and really fight for those points and it could go either way. One advantage for us is Ruben Neves is suspended because I think he's one of the best players ever in the Championship, but they've still got plenty of players to choose from.

"The Wolves fans will probably be more worried than Nuno and the team. They'll be confident they can re-establish some form and win the league quite comfortably. It's going to be a tough game for us."

Don't miss the Sky Bet Championship clash between Wolves and Reading on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Football and Main Event from 5.15pm

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