Bristol City winger catches the eye at loan club as the Robins suffer another dismal Championship away day
After taking just two points from the last 33 available from matches on the road, Bristol City supporters are entitled to feel gloomy following a poor display at the City Ground.
There was no doubt that Nottingham Forest deserved their 2-0 win on Saturday and there were few things to get excited about, as the Robins’ attacking trio and quality young players were kept quiet for once.
Perhaps a run of nine games in 35 days, and without arguably five first-team players (King, James, Baker, Atkinson, Tanner) unavailable to start, exposed City squad’s depth as things stand.
But beyond Dan Bentley pulling off four good saves on the day, to stop the scoreline being worse, there was another positive for the Robins 147 miles away.
Owura Edwards joined Colchester United on loan until the end of the season back on 17 January, and now the winger is starting to show good form. The 20-year-old was named as the man of the match after a 1-1 draw with Oldham at the weekend. It was his best showing for the Essex-based club yet.
He made 17 appearances in all competitions for Exeter City, but it was just three starts in League Two in that period, coming off the bench seven times. Things didn’t go so well with the Robins flyer unable to score or assist for Matt Taylor’s side.
But Edwards, a former Bristol Inner City Football Academy player, is now starting to show the electric sort of play again that encouraged former head coach Dean Holden to hand the winger a debut at Brentford last season, a display that earmarked true potential.
If any City supporters dismiss the level of football, it may be wise to compare how Antoine Semenyo started impressing at Newport County in League Two three years ago.
Bristol City have received several loan reports of late explaining that Edwards is highly rated at the Colchester Jobserve Community Stadium and is impressing his new side and onlookers in Essex.
Indeed, interim head coach Wayne Brown, who replaced Hayden Mullins in January, praised the Bristol City player for his ability to pull Oldham Athletic’s defence out of shape, as the home side were unlucky not to grab three points, with two of their shots cleared off the line on the day.
“I wish it was as simple as you make it sound,” Edwards replied on the weekend, when asked how he plays 90 minutes back-to-back beating ‘every player that comes at him’ - as relayed by the official Colchester United TV channel on YouTube.
“That’s literally my game, and my hard work as well, I guess. That’s literally the hard work I’ve put in over the years, my fitness, my sharpness. To keep going and keep believing.
“And I guess that [performance] is a result of all of my hard work,” the loanee said.
Edwards was named man of the match by the club and was also the highest rated player against the Latics according to Opta-powered football statistics website WhoScored.com, after the agile attacker completed five successful dribbles in the game and set up four shooting chances.
Dribbling is obviously a strong point and his average of three successful take-ons per 90 minutes sees Edwards rank as the second best in the division, of those to play at least 500 minutes, only behind on-loan Huddersfield Town midfielder Brahima Diarra, playing at Harrogate Town.
After two tough games against Northampton Town and Hartlepool, it has been a welcome return to form for the former Newport County player who scored against Sutton United in a 3-2 loss in his first game for the U’s.
And local Colchester United reporter Jon Waldron told Bristol World: “Owura has been a breath of fresh air for the U’s with his direct running and positive attacking play.
“He scored on his debut but hasn’t netted since then and will be looking to add more goals and assists to his game between now and the end of the season.”
The Robins still have high hopes for the forward player and are paying close attention.
Meanwhile, older brother Opi Edwards joined Forest Green Rovers last summer on a one-year-deal but the versatile wide player has experienced an injury-hit campaign that has stopped the former City wing-back making a league debut for the League Two leaders just yet.
Manager Rob Edwards explained that the versatile defender or winger was hopeful of being involved with the Green soon, when he confirmed a knock ahead of facing Walsall last month.
“Opi [Edwards] hurt his knee in training at the backend of last week, so he’s the only one not training. We’re hoping that he’ll be back with us next week,” he said.