Preston Edwards is due to achieve the impressive feat of 200 club appearances against Hemel Hempstead Town tomorrow, making him only the seventh goalkeeper in Fleet history to reach that milestone.
Edwards, 25, will join Peter Heathcote, Lee Turner, Lance Cronin, Cyril Gould, Lee Smelt and Brian Hughes in the keepers’ 200 Club and if he plays until the end of the season will overtake all of them except Heathcote and Turner.
The former Millwall junior joined Fleet in the summer of 2010 (pictured) after a season with Grays Athletic and was instrumental in the club’s immediate return to the Conference Premier after relegation the season before. He also broke into the England C squad in the same year and ever since has been a crucial and extremely popular member of successive Fleet squads.
He captained the side at Barrow in 2013 and, despite issuing a farewell message to Fleet supporters that summer, was persuaded to stay on following the club’s takeover by KEH Sports. After four seasons of being the No.1 keeper, this campaign has seen injury and suspension, requiring Preston to do battle for the shirt again. Having regained his place in January of this year, Preston has now totalled 17 appearances this season to bring him to the 199 mark.
“With hard work and good performances, I’m hoping for another 200,” the goalkeeper said in an interview that will be published in tomorrow’s matchday programme.
Fleet manager Jamie Day said, “Preston’s come back in, kept his place and done well. His 200th game is a sign of quality and consistency and a commendable achievement.”
Vice chairman Peter Varney added, “As with Joe Howe’s recent 200th, Preston reaching the same mark is a sign of hard work, commitment and consistency and I think I speak on behalf of all at the club when I say his achievement deserves a lot of praise. We have been lucky enough to have two superb goalkeepers on our books this past season and a half and while Preston has had to sit out part of the season, he has come back and earned his 200th appearance.”