Burton Albion: Phil Edwards ready to take Ian Sharps' place

Burton's Phil Edwards holding on to Southend United's Kevan Hurst

Phil Edwards insists he can replace Ian Sharps in the centre of defence as Burton Albion look to win promotion to League One without their captain.

The 28-year-old moved from right-back to centre-half after Sharps was sent-off in Sunday's 1-0 play-off semi-final first-leg win against Southend United.

Sharps faces a two-match ban, which would deny him a Wembley final appearance if Burton progress.

"As long as I'm playing, I'll play anywhere for the team," said Edwards.

He helped ensure Burton take a slender lead into the second leg at Roots Hall on Saturday by heading a Kevan Hurst effort over the bar.

The former Rochdale, Accrington and Stevenage man, who finished runner-up to Sharps in the supporters' player of the season award, admitted the sending off on the hour mark, when Burton were trying to press for a second goal, changed the game.

"They pinned us in and thankfully we held on with a few good saves [from goalkeeper Dean Lyness] and few good clearances," he told BBC Radio Derby.

Brewers manager Gary Rowett praised Edwards' performance alongside Marcus Holness, who has started four successive matches while Shane Cansdell-Sherriff recovers from an Achilles injury.

"Again we've had to patch up our defence and sometimes the players you bring in just stand up a bit more," said Rowett.

"Phil Edwards has gone in and been a man mountain. He was huge for us and so was Marcus Holness. We need one or two of the players to put those performances in again."

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