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Interviews

CATCHING UP WITH PEDJ: PART TWO

Former defender looks back on his time with the Cobblers

25 May 2020

In the second instalment of our recent interview with Pedj, our former defender talks us through his memories with the Cobblers...

Improving as a player and winning promotion...

"On the pitch, Josh Low and I had a great partnership on the right side. We used to love playing together, and I think the crowd liked it too. Although, I'm not sure it filled Colin (Calderwood) with too much confidence at times because we both liked to get forward and attack! I was close with Fred Murray and Eric Sabin, and I still keep in touch with David Hunt and Mark Bunn sometimes, too. 

"The season that we went on to win promotion, I managed to chip in with four league goals as well as another couple in the cup games, so I was pleased with that contribution. I was delighted to score on the opening day at Lincoln City, although to be fair I get more of a thrill assisting the goals.

"I also felt as though I was adapting to the physicality better because it was my second season in English football, so I was more used to the demands of the league and was getting fitter which in turn helped improve my performances."

Making the most of my versatility and being a team player...

"Funnily enough, I actually signed initially with the hope of being a centre-back. I've always said wherever I played I'd give 100% effort and commitment to the team, and I was always willing to do the right things for the team which made me quite versatile across the pitch.

"I think I played left back, right back, central midfield and as a left forward on a couple of occassions and that helped me improve overall as a player. I liked to get forward as much as I could and taking a risk, which paid off at times.

"One game sticks out for me, we were playing at home against Notts County when we had a man sent-off quite early on, if my memory serves me correctly. We were down to 10 men but we still went on to dominate the game, and the crowd helped with that as the atmosphere they created made it feel like we had an extra man on the team.

"That made a huge difference, and it proved to me how important the supporters are, particularly in English football. Home advantage was important to us and it certainly helped us get over the line that season."

Stepping up a division following promotion...

"From my experiences back then, I'd say the top half of League One could've probably played at Championship level, and the bottom half of the league was similar to the top end of League Two, and I think that's shown by the fact we finished around mid-table that season.

"I personally feel we could've achieved slightly more than we did in League One that season, but you could tell the difference in quality with some teams and it was a step up in terms technical ability. It was a shame that John Gorman had to leave the club for personal reasons because he was a coach that I had a lot of respect for.

"I still remember the first game where the fans chanted my name. We were playing away at Cambridge on a rainy evening and it was a great feeling. I felt as though I always had a good relationship with the fans and they could appreciate that I was a team player. One game, I was substituted and the supporters showed their dislike to the decision, and I remember Colin saying to me 'well, I won't be doing that again!'

"I also remember getting sent off away at Wycombe, and back then I had to walk the length of the pitch to get to the dressing room and pass the away fans. But instead of giving me abuse they were clapping me off and supporting me which is something I was always thankful for."

Leaving the Cobblers through injury and returning to Australia...

"I picked up quite a serious injury and I gave up football temporarily because of it. I was 23 at the time but the injury wouldn't seem to go away, so I returned back to Australia and gave up playing. All I knew was football so I went in to quite a dark place, to be honest. 

"However, off the back of that, I became a fitness trainer to help myself learn more about the body and understand the building and healing process better. I managed to see a physio who helped me recover from the injury and starting playing sem-pro just to get back fit. Shortly after that, teams in the A-League came knocking on the door and I felt ready to go back to professional football, provided that I was allowed to carry on with my personal training business on the side.

"I signed a contract which allowed me to do that, and from there I decided to stay in the A-League and not return to Europe. That worked out well because I went on to have a successful time there with the Central Coast Mariners. I was a lot fitter thanks to my experiences in the English game combined with my personal training, so I was able to perform well at that standard.

"I was with the Mariners for 5 years, and in three of those we won pretty much everything there was to win that season, so from that point of view it was great. I'd say that spell, combined with the promotion season with Northampton were the highlights of my career.

"The A-League is improving and the fans get behind their team but I wouldn't say it compares to the atmosphere in English football. A 7,500 capacity stadium at Northampton with the songs and the atmosphere would beat a 30,000 crowd over here, in my opinion. It will come in time and hopefully it can keep improving."

Still keeping an eye on the Cobblers to this day...

"I remember the start of last season the team didn't get off to the best of starts in the league, but this year it's been great to see them doing really well and even challenge the top three at times. Hopefully the play-offs do go ahead and the team can have a successful end to the season.

"I've still got my shirts and all of the newspaper articles from my time with Northampton, and it's good to look back on those memories as it was a really enjoyable part of my career."


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